Application of Brown Coal and Activated Carbon for the Immobilization of Metal Forms in Soil, along with Their Verification Using Generalized Linear Models (GLMs)

Agnieszka Pusz , Magdalena Paulina Wiśniewska , Dominik Rogalski

Various factors can lead to the transformation of metal forms and to an increase in their solubility and, consequently, their mobility. One solution to the problem of increased solubility is the use of carbons as additives to soil in order to limit the potential migration of contaminants. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of using brown coal and activated carbon on metal forms that are available to plants. The mineral composition of the coals used in a pot experiment was analyzed. Observations were carried out with a JJSM-6380 LA scanning electron microscope (SEM) connected to an EDS electron micro-probe. The total contents of Zn, Cd, Pb and Cu in the assessed soils as well as the content of available metal forms were determined after single extractions with different reagents, namely 1 M NH4NO3, DTPA and 1 M HCl. Generalized linear models (GLMs) were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the stabilization methods in a long-term pot experiment. The carbons reduced the percentage of these forms relative to the total metal content in the soil. After adding brown coal, Zn, Cd, Pb and Cu forms were reduced by up to 32%, 30%, 33% and 43%, respectively. After adding activated carbon, the metal forms of Zn, Cd, Pb and Cu were reduced by up to 47%, 44%, 40% and 50%, respectively. The following order of extracted metal forms with different solutions was found: HCl: Zn > Pb > Cu > Cd; DTPA: Pb > Zn > Cu > Cd; NH4NO3: Zn > Cu > Pb > Cd. Eight years after setting up the pot experiment, the contents of humic substances in soils with the addition of both tested carbons were compared, and the soils with added carbons were found to have a stable content of humic fractions. The costs of remediation through the stabilization method using the tested brown coal and activated carbons do not exceed USD 75/t (taking into account the double doses of both carbons).

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