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Assessment of heavy metal speciation in soils impacted with crude oil in the Niger Delta, Nigeria

Posted on 7. March, 2011.

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Relatively little or no information is available regarding the speciation of metals in soils that have been significantly affected by crude oil spillage in the Niger Delta.

The objective of the present study is to determine the speciation of heavy metals in soils contaminated with crude oil. This study is fundamental for understanding the chemical behaviour of heavy metals in the soil environment, which is the basis of risk assessment, decontamination and remediation of soils contaminated with metals as a result of crude oil spillage.

This study revealed that concentrations of the examined metals in the labile phases at the impacted sites were greater than the level found at the control site. This suggests that exogenous metals are weakly bound to the soil particles. Significant proportions of the metals were found in the Fe–Mn oxides fraction which gives an overall picture that these metals may be readily mobilized upon changes in soil physico-chemistry (i.e. pH, and redox potential). Apart from Cd and Zn, the relative mobility of the examined metals at the prevailing physico-chemical conditions was less than 20%. The speciation patterns of the studied metals in the crude oil impacted areas were greatly influenced by oil spillage and the prevailing soil physicochemical characteristics.

Chukwujindu M.A. Iwegbue
DOI: 10.3184/095422911X12964002282100

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