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Heavy metals in urban soils of East St. Louis, IL, Part I: Total concentration of heavy metals in soils


Heavy metals in urban soils of East St. Louis, IL, Part I: Total concentration of heavy metals in soils



Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association 50(9): 1667-1679



ISSN/ISBN: 1096-2247

PMID: 11055164

DOI: 10.1080/10473289.2000.10464195

The city of East St. Louis, IL, has a history of abundant industrial activities including smelters of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, a coal-fired power plant, companies that produce organic and inorganic chemicals, and petroleum refineries. A protocol for soil analysis was developed to produce sufficient information on the extent of heavy metal contamination in East St. Louis soils. Soil cores representing every borough of East St. Louis were analyzed for heavy metals--As, Cd, Cu, Cr, Hg, Ni, Pb, Sb, Sn, and Zn. The topsoil contained heavy metal concentrations as high as 12.5 ppm Cd, 14,400 ppm Cu, ppm quantities of Hg, 1860 ppm Pb, 40 ppm Sb, 1130 ppm Sn, and 10,360 ppm Zn. Concentrations of Sb, Cu, and Cd were well correlated with Zn concentrations, suggesting a similar primary industrial source. In a sandy loam soil from a vacated rail depot near the bank of the Mississippi River, the metals were evenly distributed down to a 38-cm depth. The clay soils within a half-mile downwind of the Zn smelter and Cu products company contained elevated Cd (81 ppm), Cu (340 ppm), Pb (700 ppm), and Zn (6000 ppm) and displayed a systematic drop in concentration of these metals with depth. This study demonstrates the often high concentration of heavy metals heterogeneously distributed in the soil and provides baseline data for continuing studies of heavy metal soil leachability.

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