Author(s): Ljung K, Otabbong E, Selinus O
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Abstract Urban soils are complex systems due to human activities that disturb the natural development of the soil horizons and add hazardous elements. Remediation projects are common in urban areas and guideline values are set to represent a desired level of elements. However, the natural content of trace elements may not always equal the desired levels. In this study, an attempt is made to distinguish between metals that are present in the soil due to natural origins and to anthropogenic origins. Seventy-five soil samples of the 0-5, 5-10 and 10-20 cm layers were collected from 25 sites in urban areas of Uppsala City and analysed for aluminium (Al), arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), mercury (Hg), manganese (Mn), nickel (Ni), lead (Pb), tungsten (W) and zinc (Zn) using aqua regia for digestion. In order to highlight elements of geological origin, the results were compared to a similar study carried out in Gothenburg City, which has about three times as many inhabitants as Uppsala and has a more industrial history. A cluster analysis was also performed to distinguish between elements of natural and anthropogenic origin. Contents of As, Al, Fe, Cr, Ni, Mn and W in Uppsala were concluded to be of mainly geological origin, while contents of Cd, Cu, Zn, Pb and Hg seemed to have been impacted upon by mainly urban activities.
This article was published in Environ Geochem Health
and referenced in Journal of Geology & Geophysics