Biosolids affect soil barium in a dryland wheat agroecosystem.J Environ Qual 2006 Nov-Dec; 35(6):2333-41JE
In December 2003, the USEPA released an amended list of 15 "candidate pollutants for exposure and hazard screening" with regard to biosolids land application, including Ba. Therefore, we decided to monitor soil Ba concentrations from a dryland wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)-fallow agroecosystem experiment. This experiment received 10 biennial biosolids applications (1982-2003) at rates from 0 to 26.8 dry Mg ha(-1) per application year. The study was conducted on a Platner loam (Aridic Paleustoll), approximately 30 km east of Brighton, CO. Total soil Ba, as measured by 4 M HNO(3), increased with increasing biosolids application rate. In the soil-extraction data from 1988 to 2003, however, we observed significant (P < 0.10) linear or exponential declines in ammonium bicarbonate-diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (AB-DTPA) extractable Ba concentrations as a function of increasing biosolids application rates. This was observed in 6 of 7 and 3 of 7 yr for the 0- to 20- and 20- to 60-cm soil depths, respectively. Results suggest that while total soil Ba increased as a result of biosolids application with time, the mineral form of Ba was present in forms not extractable with AB-DTPA. Scanning electron microscopy using energy dispersive spectroscopy verified soil Ba-S compounds in the soil surface, probably BaSO(4). Wet chemistry sequential extraction suggested BaCO(3) precipitation was increasing in the soil subsurface. Our research showed that biosolids application may increase total soil Ba, but soil Ba precipitates are insoluble and should not be an environmental concern in similar soils under similar climatic and management conditions.