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The Aznalcóllar mine-tailing spill: trace elements in remediated soils

AuthorsCabrera, Francisco ; Moreno Lucas, Félix
Issue Date2001
PublisherUniversity of Guelph
CitationProceedings. 6th International Conference on the Biogeochemistry of Trace Elements: 34 (2001)
AbstractThe Aznalcóllar mine-tailing spill (25th April 1998) affected about 2700 ha of agricultural land. Approximately 6 million cubic meters of slurry inundated both riverbanks of the Agrio and Guadiamar rivers. Slurry was composed of acidic water loaded with heavy metals and other toxic elements, and sludge consisting of finely divided metal sulphides: pyrite with arsenopyrite (75-80%) and sphalerite and galena (5%). A strip 40 km long and 300 m wide along both rivers was covered by a layer (0-30 cm thick) of black sludge. Severe heavy metal pollution was observed in the superficial layer (0-20 cm) of most of the sludge-affected soils. Generally, in soils with more than 20% of elay, concentration of heavy metals below the 20-cm depth decreased to values close to the background level of the Guadiamar valley soils. In coarser soils, heavy metal pollution penetrated below this depth, being noticeable down to at least 50-80 cm (Cabrera et al.,1999). Remediation works started soon after the accident and consisted in: 1) removal of the sludge from the surface soils together with a layer of soil of 5 to 20 cm; 2) deep ploughing (20 cm) to mix soil within the ploughed depth; 3) application of amendments (e.g.lime, Fe-rich soil, compost, manure). To know the effectiveness of the remediations works, total and available trace elements were determined in soils of two affected areas of the Guadiamar river valley.
Appears in Collections:(IRNAS) Comunicaciones congresos
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