Natural attenuation of residual heavy metal contamination in soils affected by the Aznalcóllar mine spill, SW Spain.J Environ Manage. 2011 Aug; 92(8):2069-75.JE
Non-amended soils affected by pyritic sludge residues were monitored for 7 years to assess the long-term natural attenuation ability of these soils. The decrease in both the total concentration of elements (particularly As) and (NH(4))(2)SO(4)-extractable fractions of Mn, and Zn, below the maximum permissible levels indicate a successful natural ability to attenuate soil pollution. Soil acidification by pyrite oxidation and rainfall-enhanced leaching were the largest contributors to the reduction of metals of high (Mn, Cu, Zn and Cd) and low (Fe, Al, and As) availability. Periodic use of correlation and spatial distribution analysis was useful in monitoring elemental dispersion and soil property/element relationships.