Author(s): Thavamani P, Megharaj M, Krishnamurti GS, McFarland R, Naidu R
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Abstract Contaminants in general do not occur as single chemicals but as mixtures at any contaminated site. Gasworks sites are the typical mixed contaminated sites. These sites are not only subjected to PAH contamination but also varying degrees of heavy metal contamination. Bioremediation in these sites is often hindered by the presence of heavy metals. The co-occurrence of PAHs with heavy metals has not been systematically investigated. Metals are reported to inhibit the general soil microbiological processes. The total concentration of soluble metal in the system includes both free metal ion and complexed forms. Within bioavailable fraction, the most toxic form is the free metal species, which was not addressed well so far in gas works site characterisation. This study underpins the science and importance of metal bioavailability and speciation based site characterisation in mixed contaminated sites. In this study a detailed elemental chemistry of the gas works site soils are discussed using different methods. The PAH contamination was contributed by both low and high molecular weight PAHs. The total PAHs concentration ranged from 335 to 8645 mg/kg. Among most toxic metals Pb was found in high concentration ranging from 88 to 671 mg/kg, Cd 8 to 112 mg/kg and Zn varied from 64 to 488 mg/kg. Thermodynamic chemical equilibrium model VMINTEQ (Ver 2.52) was used to calculate the free metal species in gas works site soils. The percentage free metal species showed a different trend compared to total metal concentrations, free Zn species ranged 18-86\%, free Cd was 26-87\% and Pb showed lowest free metal percentage (0-17\%). The bioavailable metal species and its implications to bioremediation have also been discussed. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Environ Int
and referenced in Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology