Comparison of urban and rural soils based on speciation of heavy metals by BCR sequential extraction procedure: A case study in the historical and industrial city of Sisak, Croatia

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Ajka Šorša
Goran Durn
Anita Grizelj
Josip Halamić
Lucija Prša Gazilj


Within the framework of the pan-European project “URban GEochemistry (URGE) in Europe – Soil, children, health”, pedological and geochemical investigations of the soils of the city of Sisak and its adjacent  surroundings were carried out, and three urban and two rural soil profiles were examined. The mineralogical composition and concentration of selected potentially toxic elements (PTEs) Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn in the soil were determined. The Community Reference Bureau of Reference (BCR) sequential extraction procedure (SEP) of  these PTEs was undertaken and the potential risk to human health and the environment was assessed.
The concentrations of Cr and Ni are generally similar in urban and rural soil profiles, while the concentrations of Cu, Pb and Zn in soil horizons/layers are higher in urban profiles. The extracted fractions of PTEs gave the following general distribution: in urban soil profiles residual (RES) > reducible (ORG) or oxidisable (FEMN) > exchangeable (CARB), except for Cu where ORG > RES > FEMN > CARB, while in rural soil profiles RES > FEMN or ORG > CARB, except for Pb where FEMN > RES or ORG > CARB.
The differences between soils in urban and rural profiles depend mainly on the historical land use, i.e. on the duration and intensity of anthropogenic influences on the soil and, to a lesser extent, on the geogenic origin of the parent material and the pedogenic processes. The studied elements in the urban soil profiles are predominantly of anthropogenic origin, indicating a possible influence of the ancient settlements of Segestica and Siscia and of heavy industry in the 20th century. The anthropogenic influences on the rural profiles are low and geogenic influences dominate.
Risks to the environment were assessed in the soil profiles based on PTE concentrations in the CARB fraction and the sum of the CARB, ORG and FEMN fractions from BCR SEP. All calculated risks to human health and the environment were rated as no-risk, very low risk and low risk.


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