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Impacts of one century of wastewater discharge on soil transformation through ferrolysis and related metal pollutant distributions

Abstract : Discharge of wastewater leading to notable soil surface contamination is widely reported. But few works highlight the fast dynamics of soils and their morphological transformations that may result from such anthropogenic activities. Near Paris (France), sandy Luvisols were irrigated with urban wastewater since the 1890s. Within and outside the discharge area, the soil cover presents decameter-sized cryogenic structures. We studied macro morphological soil characteristics, soil chemistry and clay mineralogy on selected bulk samples, as well as contemporary pedofeatures and related metal pollutant distribution patterns in soil thin sections from subsurface horizons. Annual repetitive waterlogging and drying cycles initiated a hydromorphic soil forming process: ferrolysis, based on iron reduction producing alkalinity under anaerobic conditions, and iron oxidation producing acidity in aerobic conditions. Its intensity was enhanced at the top of thick clay-rich B-horizons in the center of cryogenic structures. The polygonal soil structure favored the evacuating of soil water and alkalinity. Within one century, such recurrent alternating redox conditions have led to clay destruction, removal of iron, strong bleaching of the E horizon and formation of abiotic Fe-rich pedofeatures at depth. In addition, between anaerobic clay-rich B and aerated E or C horizons, the contrasting hydrodynamic conditions enhanced manganese (Mn) oxidizing fungal activity and the formation of biotic Mn-rich pedofeatures. Both types of pedofeatures trapped metal pollutants in deep soil horizons. In our work, the impacts of centenary anthropogenic activity were amplified by millenary cryogenic structures, acting together to promote fast soil dynamics, within a few decades.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 6:29:03 PM
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Folkert van Oort, Médard Thiry, Eddy Foy, Kenji Fujisaki, Ghislaine Delarue, et al.. Impacts of one century of wastewater discharge on soil transformation through ferrolysis and related metal pollutant distributions. Science of the Total Environment, Elsevier, 2017, 590, pp.1 - 13. ⟨10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.03.054⟩. ⟨cea-01488895⟩



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