Spatial Patterns and Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals in Soils in a Resource-Exhausted City, Northeast China.

PLoS ONE. 2015;10(9):e0137694 DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0137694


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Journal Title: PLoS ONE

ISSN: 1932-6203 (Online)

Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)

LCC Subject Category: Medicine | Science

Country of publisher: United States

Language of fulltext: English

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Hongwei Chen
Jing An
Shuhe Wei
Jian Gu


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Time From Submission to Publication: 24 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Northeast China is an intensive area of resource-exhausted city, which is facing the challenges of industry conversion and sustainable development. In order to evaluate the soil environmental quality influenced by mining activities over decades, the concentration and spatial distribution of arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), nickel (Ni), lead (Pb), and Zinc (Zn) in surface soils (0-20cm) of a typical resource-exhausted city were investigated by analyzing 306 soil samples. The results showed that the average concentrations in the samples were 6.17 mg/kg for As, 0.19 mg/kg for Cd, 51.08 mg/kg for Cr, 23.27 mg/kg for Cu, 31.15 mg/kg for Ni, 22.17 mg/kg for Pb, and 54.21 mg/kg for Zn. Metals distribution maps produced by using the inverse distance weighted interpolation method and results revealed that all investigated metals showed distinct geographical patterns, and the concentrations were higher in urban and industrial areas than in farmland. Pearson correlation and principal component analysis showed that there were significant positive correlations (p<0.05) between all of the metals, and As, Cd, Cr, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn were closely associated with the first principal component (PC1), which explained 39.81% of the total variance. Cu and As were mainly associated with the second component (PC2). Based on the calculated Nemerow pollution index, percentage for slightly polluted (1<P ≤ 2) surface soils were reached 57.33%, while 42.65% topsoil samples are moderate polluted (2<P≤ 3). According to the results above-mentioned, different soil environmental function areas were classified and proper soil environmental management policy was proposed to decrease the environmental risks in the process of industrial city transformation.