Field trial using bone meal amendments to remediate mine waste derived soil contaminated with zinc, lead and cadmium

I. R. Sneddon, M. Orueetxebarria, M. E. Hodson, P. F. Schofield, E. Valsami-Jones

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Bone meal amendments are being considered as a remediation method for metal-contaminated wastes. In various forms (biogenic, geogenic or synthetic), apatite, the principal mineral constituent of bone, has shown promise as an amendment to remediate metal-contaminated soils via the formation of insoluble phosphates of Pb and possibly other metals. The efficacy of commercially available bovine bone meal in this role was investigated in a field trial at Nenthead, Cumbria with a mine waste derived soil contaminated with Zn, Pb and Cd. Two 5 m(2) plots were set up: the first as a control and the second, a treatment plot where the soil was thoroughly mixed with bone meal to a depth of 50 cm at a soil to amendment ratio of 25:1 by weight. An array of soil solution samplers (Rhizon SMS (TM)) were installed in both plots and the soil pore water was collected and analysed for Ca, Cd, Zn and Pb regularly over a period of 2 a. Concurrently with the field trial, a laboratory trial with 800 mm high and 100 mm wide leaching Columns Was conducted using identical samplers and with soil from the held site.

A substantial release of Zn, Pb, Cd and Ca was observed associated with the bone meal treatment. This release was transient in the case of the leaching columns, and showed seasonal variation in the case of the field trial. It is proposed that this effect resulted from metal complexation with organic acids released during breakdown of the bone meal organic fraction and was facilitated by the relatively high soil pH of 7.6-8.0. Even after this transient release effect had subsided or when incinerated bone meal was substituted in order to eliminate the organic fraction, no detectable decrease in dissolved metals was observed and no P was detected in solution, in contrast with an earlier small column laboratory study. It is concluded that due to the relative insolubility of apatite at above-neutral pH, the rate of supply of phosphate to soil solution was insufficient to result in significant precipitation of metal phosphates and that this may limit the effectiveness of the method to more acidic soils. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2414-2424
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Geochemistry
Issue number8
Early online date24 Apr 2008
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008

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