Speciation and potential long-term behaviour of chromium in urban sediment particulates
Journal of Soils and Sediments
© The Author(s) 2016. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Purpose: Chromium, a potentially harmful element, occurs commonly within the urban sediment cascade as a result of abundant industrial and transport-related sources. The risks that Cr-bearing particles pose to ecosystems and humans depend on the solid-phase chemical speciation of Cr and its environmental mobility. In this study, we adopt an integrated geochemical approach to investigate and determine the long-term fate of Cr in the urban sediment cascade. Materials and methods: We use bulk chemical digests, sequential chemical extraction analysis, electron microscopy, electron microprobe and microfocus XANES analysis to describe the solid-phase speciation, geochemical characteristics and potential long-term behaviour of Cr in urban particulate matter from both aquatic sediment and road dust sediment (RDS) in Manchester, UK. Results and discussion: Cr-bearing grains within RDS and aquatic sediment are predominantly iron oxides and alumino-silicate glass grains. Electron microprobe analysis indicates Cr concentrations up to 3300 and 133,400 μg g −1 in the RDS and aquatic grains, respectively. XANES analysis indicates that Cr(III) is the dominant oxidation state, with only trace amounts of Cr(VI). Importantly, Cr speciation does not appear to have changed between sedimentary environments and the dominance of Cr(III) suggests limited bioavailability or toxicity under predominant environmental (anoxic and neutral pH) conditions in the aquatic sediment sink. Furthermore, geochemical analyses suggest the environmental mobility of Cr in the aquatic sediment sink is low (compared to other toxic metals) due to its association mainly with alumino-silicate glass grains and its inclusion as an integral part of the glass structure. Conclusions: Industrial glass grains are a major component of urban sediment worldwide. The speciation and geochemical investigations performed in this study suggest most Cr within the urban sediment cascade may be resistant to environmental processes that could mobilise other toxic metals.
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Vol. 17 (11), pp. 2666–2676