Heavy metal mobility, bioavailability and toxicity depends largely on the chemical form of metals and ultimately determines potential for environmental pollution. For this reason, determining the chemical form of heavy metals and metalloids, immobilized in sludges by biological mediated sulfate reduction, is important to evaluate their mobility and bioavailability. A modified Tessier sequential extraction procedure (SEP), complemented with acid volatile sulfide (AVS) and simultaneous extracted metals (SEM) measurements, were applied to determine the partitioning of five heavy metals (defined as Fe, Ni, Zn and Cu, and the metalloid As) in anoxic solid-phase material (ASM) from an anaerobic, sulfate reducing bioreactor into six operationally defined fractions. These fractions were water soluble, exchangeable, bound to carbonates (acid soluble), bound to Fe-Mn oxides (reducible), bound to organic matter and sulfides (oxidizable) and residual. It was found that the distribution of Fe, Ni, Zn, Cu and As in ASM was strongly influenced by its association with the above solid fractions. The fraction corresponding to organic matter and sulfides appeared to be the most important scavenging phases of As, Fe, Ni, Zn and Cu in ASM (59.8-86.7%). This result was supported by AVS and SEM (? Zn, Ni and Cu) measurements, which indicated that the heavy metals existed overwhelmingly as sulfides in the organic matter and sulfide fraction. A substantial amount of Fe and Ni at 16.4 and 20.1%, respectively, were also present in the carbonate fraction, while an appreciable portion of As (18.3%) and Zn (19.4%) was bound to Fe-Mn oxides. A significant amount of heavy metals was also associated with the residual fraction, ranging from 2.1% for Zn to 18.8% for As. Based on the average total extractable heavy metal (TEHM) values, the concentration of heavy metals in the ASM was in the order of Cu > Ni > Zn > Fe > As. If the mobility and bioavailability of heavy metals are assumed to be related to their solubility and chemical forms, and that they decrease with each successive extraction step, then the apparent mobility and bioavailability of these five heavy metals in ASM increase in the order of Cu < As < Ni < Fe < Zn. The SEM/AVS ratio was less than one in eight replicate ASM samples, indicating that the ASM was non-toxic with regards to having a low probability of bioavailable metals in the pore water.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Environmental Monitoring|
|Publication status||Published - 2004|