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Benefits of the use of sewage sludge over EDTA to remediate soils polluted with heavy metals

AutorHernández, Ana Jesús; Gutiérrez Ginés, Mª Jesús ; Pastor Piñeiro, Jesús
Fecha de publicación16-sep-2015
EditorCrop Science Society of America
Soil Science Society of America
American Society of Agronomy
CitaciónJournal of Environmental Quality 44: 1579-1588 (2015)
ResumenSewage sludges from urban wastewater treatment plants are often used to remediate degraded soils. However, the benefits of their use in metal-polluted soils remain unclear and need to be assessed in terms of factors besides soil fertility. This study examines the use of thermal-dried sewage sludge (TDS) as an amendment for heavy metal-polluted soil in terms of its effects on soil chemical properties, leachate composition, and the growth of native plant communities. To assess the response of the soil and its plant community to an increase in metal mobilization, the effects of TDS amendment were compared with those of the addition of a chelating agent (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid [EDTA]). The experimental design was based on a real-case scenario in which soils from of an abandoned mine site were used in a greenhouse bioassay. Two doses of TDS and EDTA were applied to a soil containing high Pb, Zn, Cu, and Cd levels (4925, 5675, 404, and 25 mg kg, respectively). Soil pH was 6.4, and its organic matter content was 5.53%. The factors examined after soil amendment were soil fertility and heavy metal contents, leachate element losses, the plant community arising from the seed bank (plant cover, species richness and biodiversity, above/below ground biomass), and phytotoxic effects (chemical contents of abundant species). Thermal-dried sewage sludge emerged as a good phytostabilizer of Pb, Zn, Cu, and Cd given its capacity to reduce the plant uptake of metals and achieve rapid plant cover. This amendment also enhanced the retention of other elements in the plant root system and overall showed a better capacity to remediate soils polluted with several heavy metals. The addition of EDTA led to plant productivity losses and nutritional imbalances because it increased the mobility of several elements in the soil and its leachates.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.2134/jeq2015.01.0017
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