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Distributions Of Zinc, Copper, Cadmium And Lead In A Tropical Ultisol After Long-term Disposal Of Sewage Sludge.

B. E. Udom, J. S. Mbagwu, J. K. Adesodun, N. Agbim
Published 2004 · Environmental Science, Medicine

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Heavy metals present in soils constitute serious environmental hazards from the point of view of polluting the soils and adjoining streams and rivers. The distribution of heavy metals in a sandy Ultisol (Arenic Kandiustult) in south eastern Nigeria subjected to 40 years disposal of sewage wastes (sludge and effluents) was studied using two profile pits (S/NSK/1 and S/NSK/2) sited in the sewage disposal area and one profile pit (NS/NSK) sited in the non-sewage disposal area. Soil samples were collected in duplicate from these soil horizons and analyzed for their heavy metal contents. The mean concentrations of Zn, Cu, Cd and Pb in the top- and sub-soil horizons of sewage soil were 79.3, 32, 0.29 and 1.15 mg/kg, respectively. These levels were high enough to constitute health and phytotoxic risks. All the metal levels were much higher in the AB horizon in the sewage than in the non-sewage soil profile, but Pb and Cu contents were also high down to the Bt1 horizon, indicating their apparent relatively high mobility in this soil. There was a significant correlation between organic matter (OM) and Zn (r=0.818**), and between OM and Cd (0.864**) in the sewage soil. The high OM status of the sewage sludge, together with its corresponding low pH, might have favoured metal-OM complexation that could reduce heavy metal mobility and phytotoxicity in this soil.
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