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Availability and Distribution of Cd, Ni, Cu, and Zn in a Northern Piedmont Biosolids-Amended Soil.

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The long term availability of trace metals to plants and their possible leaching below the root zone have been cited as potential hazard by critics of EPA 503 rule governing the land application of biosolids. The objectives of this current research are to assess the availability of Cd, Cu, Ni, and Zn to plants and their distribution within the soil profile 17 years after sludge application. Biosolids were applied to 1.52⋆2.27 m confined plots of a Davidson clay loam (Clayey Kaolinitic, Thermic Rhodic Paleudult ) in 1984 at rates of 0, 42, 84, 126, 168, 210 Mg/ha. The highest biosolids application supplied 4.5, 750, 43, 600 kg/ha of Cd, Cu, Ni, and Zn respectively. The results revealed no significant effect on the yield of radishes (Raphanus sativus L.). Yield of lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. Longifolia) increased however with biosolids rate. Plant tissue metal concentrations increased with biosolids rate but were within the normal range for these crops. Soils were sampled to a depth of 0.9 m. and sectioned into 5 cm increment. Total and bioavailable metals concentrations were measured using EPA 3050B method and the Mehlich I Method respectively. The results showed no apparent movement below the root zone 17 years after biosolids application. Metals are mostly concentrated in the top 0.2m with slight enrichment down to 0.3 m. Below this depth there was no significant effect on metal concentration.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2003

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