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Soil extraction testing to determine the extent of heavy metal contamination.

Zahl EG
Mine Drainage and Surface Mine Reclamation. Volume II: Mine Reclamation, Abandoned Mine Lands and Policy Issues. Pittsburgh, PA: U.S. Bureau of Mines, 1988 Apr; :400
Initial results are presented of a current Bureau effort to determine the applicability of a soil extraction test to be used as a screening tool for predicting the suitability of selected rangeland plant species for revegetating acid and heavy metal-contaminated soils. Project areas are located near Red Lodge, MT, and Superfund sites at Anaconda, MT. Research activities included: (1) leaching of study plot soils using various extraction solutions and analysis of leachates for trace element concentrations using emission spectroscopy; (2) collection of samples of interstitial water from the root zone using suction lysimeters and subsequent analysis for element concentrations; and (3) testing of the toxicity of the root-zone environment using bioassays with luminescent bacteria. A statistical comparison is being made of the data from these studies and those previously obtained from costly, long-term revegetation studies. Successful results will lead to a method of determining which plant species are best adapted to surface areas that have various degrees of acid and heavy metal contamination. Such determinations can become important since the degree of contamination can vary considerably from acre to acre, and the proposed method would preclude the need for numerous and costly revegetation studies. The results could be applied to vegetation established to reduce windblown dust and contaminated aquifer recharge waters, as well as to vegetation established for agricultural production.
Soil-analysis; Soil-sampling; Heavy-metals; Heavy-metal-poisoning; Vegetation; Plants; Sampling; Bioassays; Bacteria; Agriculture
Publication Date
Document Type
IH; Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Mine Drainage and Surface Mine Reclamation. Volume II: Mine Reclamation, Abandoned Mine Lands and Policy Issues
Page last reviewed: June 15, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division