Heavy metals contamination of topsoil and dispersion in the vicinities of reclaimed
Growing concern about reclamation of auto-repair workshop areas for residential and agricultural purposes makes risk assessment of heavy metal contamination of the study area imperative. In addition, the study is aimed at ascertaining the dispersion of contaminated Zn, Ni, Cr, Hg, and Pb within the soil profile. A total of 75 soil samples from auto-repair workshops and 18 soil samples from control sites were collected. Significant levels of contamination were found in view of elevated levels of these metals above background concentrations in control sites. Average topsoil metal concentrations (0-10 cm) in auto-repair workshop areas were: Zn 0.90 ± 0.5, Ni 11.5 ± 3.3, Cr 5.3 ± 2.3, Hg 9.4 ± 4.6 and Pb 133 ± 66 mg/kg. Lead was the most significant contaminants, and the degree of contamination was highest for Pb followed by Hg. The detailed levels of total metal contamination for Pb and Hg exceeded international thresholds for agricultural use. Enrichment factor within the soil profile metals were Zn 3.37, Ni 3.38, Cr 6.22, Hg 14.5 and Pb 21.1. The enrichment factor reflects the ratio of average concentration at a particular sampling location to average concentration at control sites. The general trend of dispersion of metal contaminants within the soil profile studied is Pb >> Ni > Hg > Cr >>Zn.
KEY WORDS: Auto-repair, Lead, Mercury, Soil, Heavy metals, Dispersion
Bull. Chem. Soc. Ethiop. 2008, 22(3), 339-348.