Assessing the efficacy of dredged materials from Lake Panasoffkee, Florida: implication to environment and agriculture. Part 1: Soil and environmental quality aspect.Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2004; 11(5):321-6ES
BACKGROUND, AIMS AND SCOPE
Dredged materials because of its variable but unique physical and chemical properties are often viewed by society and regulators as pollutants, but many have used these materials in coastal nourishment, land or wetland creation, construction materials, and for soil improvement as a soil amendment. Environmental impact assessment is an important pre-requisite to many dredging initiatives. The ability to reuse lake-dredge materials (LDM) for agricultural purposes is important because it reduces the need for off-shore disposal and provides an alternative to disposal of the materials in landfills. Additional research on disposal options of dredged materials are much needed to supply information on criteria testing and evaluation of the physical and chemical impacts of dredged materials at a disposal site, as well as information on many other aspects of dredging and dredged material disposal. While preliminary efforts are underway to provide information to establish criteria for land disposal, testing procedures for possible land disposal of contaminated sediments are still in their developing stage. The objective of this study (Part 1) was to quantify the effect of applied LDM from Lake Panasoffkee (LP), Florida on soil physico-chemical properties (soil quality) at the disposal site. This series of two papers aims at providing assessment of the efficacy of lake-dredged materials from LP especially its implication to environment (soil quality, Part 1) and agriculture (forage quality and pasture establishment, Part 2).
The experimental treatments that were evaluated consisted of different ratios of natural soil (NS) to LDM: LDM0 (100% NS:0% LDM); LDM25 (75% NS:25% LDM); LDM50 (50% NS:50% LDM); LDM75 (25% NS:75% LDM); and LDM100 (0% NS:100% LDM). Field layout was based on the principle of a completely randomized block design with four replications. The Mehlich 1 method (0.05 N HCl in 0.025 N H2SO4) was used for chemical extraction of soil. Soil P and other exchangeable cations (Ca, Mg, K, Al, and Fe) were analyzed using an Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) Spectroscopy. The effects of dredged materials addition on soil quality and compaction were analyzed statistically following the PROC ANOVA procedures.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Sediments that were dredged from LP have high CaCO3 content (82%) and when these materials were incorporated into existing topsoil they would have the same favorable effects as liming the field. Thus, sediments with high CaCO3 may improve the physical and chemical conditions of subtropical sandy pastures. The heavy and trace metal contents of LDM were below the probable effect levels (PEL) and threshold effect levels (TEL). Average values for Pb, Zn, As, Cu, Hg, Se, Cd, and Ni of 5.2 +/- 1.3, 7.0 +/- 0.6, 4.4 +/- 0.1, 8.7 +/- 1.2, 0.01 +/- 0.02, 0.02 +/- 0.02, 2.5 +/- 0.1, and 14.6 +/- 6.4 mg kg(-1), respectively, were below the TEL and the PEL. TEL represents the concentrations of sediment-associated contaminants that are considered to cause significant hazards to aquatic organisms, while, PEL represents the lower limit of the range of the contaminant concentrations that are usually or always associated with adverse biological effects. As such, the agricultural or livestock industry could utilize these LDM to produce forages. LDM should be regarded as a beneficial resource, as a part of the ecological system. Addition of LDM had significant (p < or = 0.001) effects on soil physico-chemical properties and soil quality. Compared with the control plots, the soils in plots amended with LDM exhibited: (1) lower degree of soil compaction; (2) an increase in soil pH, Ca, and Mg; (3) decrease in the levels of soil Mn, Cu, Fe, Zn, and Si; and (4) no significant change in the level of Na in the soil. Results have shown the favorable influence that LDM had on soil compaction. The treatment x year interaction effect was not significant, but the average soil compaction varied widely (p < or = 0.001) with LDM application. In 2002 and 2003, soil compaction of plots was lowered significantly as a result of LDM additions. The least compacted soils in 2002 and 2003 were observed from plots with LDM75 with mean soil compaction of 300 x 10(3) and 350 x 10(3) Pa, respectively.
Beneficial uses of dredged materials from LP, Florida are both economical and environmental. Often these materials can be obtained at little or no cost to the farmers or landowners in south Florida. Environmentally, dredging of sediments that are rich in CaCO3 should restore the 19.4-sq km LP by removing natural sediments from the lake bottom to improve the fishery, water quality, and navigation of the lake. The bottom sediment materials from lakes, river, and navigational channels usually are composed of upland soil enriched with nutrients and organic matter. These materials should be regarded as a beneficial resource to be used productively and not to be discarded as spoil materials.
RECOMMENDATION AND OUTLOOK
Land application of LDM from LP may not only provide substantial benefits that will enhance the environment, community, and society in south Florida, but also in other parts of the world especially those areas having tropical and subtropical climate with forage-based beef cattle pastures. The heavy and trace metal contents of LDM from LP were below the PEL and TEL. As such, the agricultural or livestock industry could utilize these LDM to produce forages (Part 2 of this study). LDM should be regarded as a beneficial resource, as a part of the ecological system. Further studies are still needed to determine whether the environmental and ecological implications of LDM application are satisfied over the longer term.