Science Inventory

Phosphate Treatment of Lead-Contaminated Soil: Effects on Water Quality, Plant Uptake, and Lead Speciation


Weber, J., K. Goyne, T. Luxton, AND A. Thompson. Phosphate Treatment of Lead-Contaminated Soil: Effects on Water Quality, Plant Uptake, and Lead Speciation. Elizabeth Guertal, E. Charles Brummer, and Andrew Sharpley (ed.), JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY. American Society of Agronomy, MADISON, WI, 44(4):1127-1136, (2015).


The purpose of the current research was to examine the feasability of using phosphate based ammendments for immobilization of lead in contaminated flood plain soils.


Water quality threats associated with using phosphate-based amendments to remediate Pb-contaminated soils are a concern, particularly in riparian areas. This study investigated the effects of P application rates to a Pb-contaminated alluvial soil on Pb and P loss via surface water runoff, Pb accumulation in tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb; Kentucky 31), and Pb speciation. An alluvial soil was treated with triple superphosphate at P to Pb molar ratios of 0:1(control), 4:1, 8:1, and 16:1. After a 6- mo reaction period, rainfall simulation (RFS) studies were conducted, followed by tall fescue establishment and a second set of RFS studies (1 yr after treatment). Results from the first RFS (unvegetated) demonstrated that the total Pb and P concentrations in the effluents of 8:1 and 16:1 (P:Pb molar ratio) treatment levels were significantly greater (p < 0.05) than the control. One year after P treatment and 6 mo after vegetation establishment, total P and Pb concentrations of the effluents from a second RFS decreased by one to three orders of magnitude. Total and dissolved P concentration in runoff from the 16:1 P:Pb treatment remained significantly greater than all other treatments. However, total Pb concentration in the runoff was comparable among the treatments. Phosphorus treatment also reduced Pb uptake into tall fescue by > 55%. X-ray absorption near-edge structure spectroscopy data showed that pyromorphite [Pb5(PO4)3OH,Cl,F] abundance ranged from 0% (control) to 32% (16:1 P:Pb; 1 yr after treatment) of the total soil Pb. Although P treatment stimulated pyromorphite formation, pyromorphite abundance was comparable between the P-treated soils. These findings suggest that a 4:1 (P:Pb molar ratio) P treatment may be a sufficient means of reducing Pb bioavailability while minimizing concerns related to P loss in an alluvial setting.

Record Details:

Product Published Date: 07/10/2015
Record Last Revised: 07/15/2015
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 308389