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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #122066


item McGowen, Steven

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/16/2001
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: This book chapter provides a comprehensive review of research methods used to describe the release and movement of heavy metals from soils contaminated by mining, processing, and smelting. Metal pollution in soil can transfer to ground water or surface waters and threaten public health if these water sources are used for primary consumption. The information in this review is important to the Environmental Protection Agency, environmental consulting companies, and scientists because it provides information on specific research methods for determining the extent and potential for metal pollution near metal mines and smelters. The first section of the chapter presents current and past research approaches for describing the extent of metal pollutant movement from contaminated areas to soil and water resources. The second section focuses on new techniques for evaluating the effectiveness of chemical treatments to reduce metal transfer from contaminant sources to unpolluted soil and water resources. This chapter provides an up-to-date review of scientific methods used for describing metal movement in contaminated soils and reduction of metal movement by chemical treatments.

Technical Abstract: Metal mining, smelting, and processing throughout the world has contaminated soils with heavy metals in excess of natural soil background concentrations. This chapter reviews current literature on metal release and transport from soils contaminated from metal mining, extraction, and processing. The first review section focuses on specific research approaches designed to study the solubility and transport of metals from soils contaminated by metal exploration, processing and smelting of ores. These research methods differ in approach, but share the objective of describing and interpreting metal release, mobility, and transport from contaminated soils. The methods were grouped for discussion into the following categories: (1) soil profile metal distribution, (2) mineralogical properties, (3) chemical partitioning, and (4) leaching and water monitoring. The second section of the review focuses on novel techniques designed to evaluate chemical treatments for reducing metal release and transport from contaminated soils. This section focuses on the evaluation of in-situ chemical immobilization treatments for prevention of metal solubility and transport. In-situ chemical immobilization is a remediation technique that involves the addition of chemicals to contaminated soil to form less soluble and less mobile metal compounds. Evaluation of chemical treatments using repacked soil columns with geochemical and transport models aided in describing the effectiveness of different materials for reducing heavy metal mobility and transport in mine-and smelter-contaminated soils.