Monday 14 March 2016

Contributions of a compost-biochar mixture to the metal sorption capacity of a mine tailing

Environmental Science and Pollution Research
February 2016, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 2595–2602
DOI: 10.1007/s11356-015-5489-0

One technique applied to restore degraded or contaminated soils is to use amendments made of different types of waste materials, which in turn may contain metals such as Cu, Pb and Zn. For this reason, it is important to determine the capacity of the soil to retain these materials, and to compare the sorption capacity between an amended soil and another unamended soil. The aim of this study was to determine the mobility and availability of these metals in the soil after applying the amendment, and how it affected the soil’s sorption capacity. Sorption isotherms were compared with the empirical models of Langmuir and Freundlich to estimate the sorption capacity. The overall capacity of the soils to sorb Cu, Pb or Zn was evaluated as the slope Kr. The amendments used in this study were a mixture made of compost and biochar in different proportions (20, 40, 60, 100 %), which were applied to the mine tailing from a settling pond from a copper mine. The mine tailing that were amended with the mixture of compost and biochar had a higher sorption capacity than the mine tailing from the unamended pond, and their sorption isotherms had a greater affinity towards Cu, Pb and Zn than the mine tailing that was studied. Therefore, the results obtained show that adding a mixture of compost and biochar favours the retention of Cu, Pb and Zn in mine tailing.