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Effect of nitrification on movement of trace metals in soil columns


Effect of nitrification on movement of trace metals in soil columns



Journal of Environmental Quality 9(4): 587-592



ISSN/ISBN: 0047-2425

Soil column experiments were conducted with sludge-treated and untreated samples of 2 soils, Omni silty clay and Delhi loamy sand, to determine whether protons generated during the nitrification process would affect the mobility of the trace metals Cd, Cr, Cu, Mn, Pb and Zn. Columns 5 cm .times. 100 cm were leached bi- or tri-weekly with 7.5 cm applications of solutions of CaCl2, NH4Cl or KCl. Trace metals in effluents from the columns were analyzed after each application of leaching solution. After 11 applications over several months the columns were sectioned and the vertical distribution of 2N HCl-extractable metals determined. Average concentrations of metals in column effluents were well below 1 ppm in all cases except Zn eluted from untreated Delhi loamy sand where 20 mM NH4Cl or KCl leaching solutions produced effluent concentrations slightly above 1 ppm. There was evidence of nitrification affecting movement of several of the metals, particularly in the cases of Mn, Zn, Cu and Cd in the untreated Delhi soil. The presence of sludge had a pronounced stabilizing influence of Cd and Zn, and to a lesser degree on other metals, probably as a result of organo-metal complexes. Much of the input labeled NH4-N was denitrified, as shown by recoveries of N ranging from 14-20% in the Omni soil and 40-78% in the Delhi soil. Proton generation during nitrification was partially offset by neutralization during denitrification. Nitrification had relatively little effect on metal mobility under the conditions of the experiment.

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Accession: 000868586

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