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Field observations to establish the impact of fluvial flooding on potentially toxic element (PTE) mobility in floodplain soils

Ponting, J., Verhoef, A., Watts, M. J. and Sizmur, T. ORCID: (2022) Field observations to establish the impact of fluvial flooding on potentially toxic element (PTE) mobility in floodplain soils. Science of the Total Environment, 811. 151378. ISSN 0048-9697

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.151378


Inundation of river water during flooding deposits contaminated sediments onto floodplain topsoil. Historically, floodplains were considered an important sink for potentially toxic elements (PTEs). With increasing flood frequency and duration, due to climate change and land use change, it is important to understand the impact that further flooding may have on this legacy contamination. In this study a field-based approach was taken, extracting soil pore waters by centrifugation of soils sampled on multiple occasions from multiple locations across a floodplain site, which lies adjacent to the River Loddon in southeast England. Flooding generally decreased pore water PTE concentrations and significantly lower pore water concentrations of Cd, Cu, and Cr were found post-flood compared to pre-flood. The dominant process responsible for this observation was precipitation with sulphides resulting in PTE removal from the pore water post-flood. The changes in pH were found to be associated with the decreased pore water concentration of Cu, which suggests the pH rise may have aided adsorption mechanisms or precipitation with phosphates. The impact of flooding on the release and retention of PTEs in floodplain soils is the net effect of several key processes occurring concurrently. It is important to understand the dominant processes that drive mobility of individual PTEs on specific floodplains so that site-specific predictions can determine the impact of future floods on the environmental fate of legacy contaminants.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Earth Systems Science
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:101040


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