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Ecological Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals in Contaminated Soil from a Point Source

Authors: S. A. Nta


The study assessed the levels of some heavy metals in the contaminated soil from a point source using pollution indices to measure the extent of pollution. The soil used was sandy-loam in texture. The contaminant used was landfill leachate, introduced as a point source through an entry point positioned at the center of top layer of the soil tank. Samples were collected after 50 days and analyzed for heavy metal (Zn, Ni, Cu and Cd) using standard methods. The mean concentration of Ni ranged from 5.55-2.65 mg/kg, Zn 3.67-0.85 mg/kg, Cu 1.60-0.93 mg/kg and Cd 1.60-0.15 mg/kg. The richness of metals was in decreasing order: Ni > Zn > Cu > Cd. The metals concentration was found to be maximum at 0.25 m radial distance from the point of leachate application. The geo-accumulation index (Igeo) studied revealed that all the metals recovered at 0.25 and 0.50 m radial distance and at 0.15, 0.30, 0.45 and 0.60 m depth from the point of application of leachate fall under unpolluted to moderately polluted range. Ecological risk assessment showed high ecological risk index with values higher than RI > 300. The RI shows that the ecological risk in this study was mostly contributed by Cd ranging from 9-96.

Keywords: Ecological risk, assessment, heavy metals, test soils, landfill leachate.

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