Determination of pollution trends in an abandoned mining site by application of a multivariate statistical analysis to heavy metals fractionation using SM&T-SES†
The mobility, availability and persistence of Heavy Metals (HMs), As, Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn, in contaminated soils of a former abandoned mining area were evaluated by means of a sequential extraction scheme (SES) and applying a multivariate statistical analysis to the obtained data. Chemical partitioning of HMs in each sample was determined in four fractions (acid-soluble, reducible, oxidable and residual) following the Standard Measurements and Testing (SM&T) SES, formerly BCR-SES. Statistical evaluation of results by pattern recognition techniques allowed identification of groups of samples with similar characteristics and observations of correlations between variables, determining the pollution trends and distribution of HMs within the studied area. Typical metal-fraction association and metal availability characteristics of heavy metals have been depicted. The obtained results indicate an urgent need to attenuate the hazard in that area posed by high concentrations of toxic metals, which exceed the limits specified by different European legislations on soil reclamation.