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Gäbler, H.-E., Schneider, J.:
Assessment of heavy-metal contamination of floodplain soils due to mining and mineral processing in the Harz Mountains, Germany
Enviromental Geology 38 (7) May 2000, 774-782, Springer Verlag

The floodplain soils of the Harz Mountains and the area around the northwest end of the Harz Mts. are contaminated with heavy metals from mines and mineral-processing plants. These soils have been investigated to characterise the heavy-metal contamination over large areas and to evaluate the hazard to the environment due to heavy-metal mobility. A 12.5 km 2 study area was assessed with respect to its heavy-metal load on the basis of the current guideline values. The heavy-metal loads of the soils in the study area have ranges of < 0.2±200 mg kg ± 1 for Cd, < 10±30,000 mg kg ± 1 for Pb, 7±10,000 mg kg ± 1 for
Cu and 50±55,000 mg kg ± 1 for Zn. Mobility of the heavy metals was determined by extraction at different pH values. The acid neutralisation capacity (ANC x ) at these pH values was also determined to estimate the probability that the pH can drop to pH=x. The ANC values in the study area ranged from 6 to 3000 mmol H + kg ± 1 , from ± 33 to 800 mmol H + kg ± 1 and from ± 74 to 160 mmol H + kg ± 1 for ANC 3.5 , ANC 5.0 and ANC 6.2 , respectively. Together with pedological data, the extraction experiments permit differentiation between soil units that have been placed in the same environmental hazard class on the basis of total heavy-metal loads.


H.-E. Gäbler:

Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe,
Stilleweg 2
D-30655 Hannover, Germany

Tel.: +49-511-6432586
Fax: +49-511-6433664

J. Schneider:

Niedersächsisches Landesamt für Bodenforschung
Stilleweg 2
D-30655 Hannover, Germany

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