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In situ fixation of metals using bauxite residue: chemical assessment.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Enzo Lombi
  • Fang Jie Zhao
  • Gangya Zhang
  • Bo Sun
  • Walter Fitz
  • Hao Zhang
  • Steve P. McGrath
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>08/2002
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Pollution
Issue number3
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)435-444
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Contamination of soils with heavy metals and metalloids is a widespread problem all over the world. Low cost, non-invasive, in situ technologies are required for remediation processes. We investigated the efficiency of a bauxite residue (red mud) to fix heavy metals in two soils, one contaminated by industrial activities (French soil), and one by sewage sludge applications (UK soil). This Fe-oxide rich material was compared with lime, or beringite, a modified aluminosilicate that has been used for in situ fixation processes. Four different crop species were successively grown in pots. Metal concentrations in the soil pore waters were analyzed during the growing cycles. At the end of the experiment fluxes of heavy metals were measured using a diffusive gradient in thin film technique (DGT). Furthermore, a sequential extraction procedure (SEP) and an acidification test were performed to investigate the mechanisms of metal fixation by different soil amendments. In both soils, the concentrations of metals in the soil pore water and metal fluxes were greatly decreased by the amendments. An application of 2% red mud performed as well as beringite applied at 5%. Increasing soil pH was a common mechanism of action for all the amendments. However, the red mud amendment shifted metals from the exchangeable to the Fe-oxide fraction, and decreased acid extractability of metals. The results suggest that specific chemisorption, and possibly metal diffusion into oxide particles could also be the mechanisms responsible for the fixation of metals by red mud.