Present concentrations and distributions of heavy metals through profiles, surface soil, and stream sediment samples in the Hunchun area, north-eastern China, were investigated to determine the elemental background values. This study also aims to characterize potentially toxic materials such as pulverized fly ash (PFA) from power stations or ash and slag from coal used domestically in urban areas, agrochemicals applied inappropriately, and urban sewage sludges from Hunchun City, as well as to ascertain the possibility of natural enrichment through site characterization by mineralogical and geochemical investigation. The distribution of contaminants in the alluvial soils (fluvisol) of this area has been influenced by several interacting factors. The parent alluvial materials from weathered products of amphiboles have made coatings such as ferrihydrite, goethite, and hematite. This natural inheritance factor is supported by the fact that the concentrations of weak acid-extractable (plant-available) heavy metals are very low, except for Fe and Mn. However, in agricultural soils and adjacent stream sediments, an anthropogenic input of Cd, Pb, Ni and Cr by agrochemicals is strongly suggested. Also, F contamination by coal combustion and the dissolution of F-bearing minerals could cause some future problems. Wide distribution and significantly high concentrations of Cd, Fe, Mn, and F in soils throughout the combination of pollutants originating from lithogenic and the anthropogenic sources pose potential problems in utilizing water resources.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Acknowledgements This research is financially supported by KOSEF of Korea (Grant No. 985-0400-003-2) and NNSFC (National Natural Science Foundation of China). The authors would like to express their appreciation to Mr Byoung-Sun Lee at Yonsei University and the members of the Twelve Exploration Company in Hunchun City for their help in the field survey and sampling, and to Mr Hyoung-Don Kim at Yonsei University for his experimental assistance. The authors also deeply appreciate the constructive comments from Dr John C. Gosse at the University of Kansas and other reviewers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Water Science and Technology
- Soil Science