Pollution and Ecological Risk Evaluation of Heavy Metals in the Soil and Sediment around the HTM Tailings Pond, Northeastern China.Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 09 27; 17(19)IJ
Tailings ponds are a main heavy metal pollution source in mining areas. In this study, the geo-accumulation index (Igeo) and the potential ecological risk index (RI) are used to evaluate the environmental impact of Hongtou Mountain (HTM) tailings pond on the surrounding area. Farmland soil, surface water, and sediment samples in the Hun River around the HTM tailings pond were collected. Heavy metal contents in the samples were analyzed by Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS). Results show that Cu, Zn, and Cd content in the farmland soil and sediment around the lower reaches of the Hun River (HTM tailings pond section) are obviously higher than the upper reaches. The Igeo values show that the farmland soil near the outlet of the tailings pond is the most polluted area. Cu was classified as moderate-strongly pollution, Zn was moderately pollution, and Cd was strongly pollution. Cd is the major pollutant in farmland soil, the monomial ecological risk (Eri) for Cd is a very high potential ecological risk. The potential ecological risk of sediment in the dry season is more serious than in the raining season. In the dry season, the Igeo index shows strong pollution for Cu and Cd at the confluence of the Hun River and the tributary from the HTM tailings pond, and a moderate-strongly pollution for Zn. Whereas, the Eri index shows that the monomial ecological risk for Zn at H3 is low, and Cu is moderate. The potential ecological risk at H3 is high, and Cd is the main source of the ecological risk around the HTM tailings pond.