Soil contamination by trace elements (TE) is a major environmental problem and much research is done into its effects on ecosystems and human health, as well as into remediation techniques. The Aznalcóllar mine accident (April 1998) was a large-scale ecological and socio-economic catastrophe in the South of Spain. We present here a literature review that synthesizes the main results found during the research conducted at the affected area over the past 20years since the mine accident, focused on the soil-plant system. We review, in depth, information about the characterization of the mine slurry and contaminated soils, and of the TE monitoring, performed until the present time. The reclamation techniques included the removal of sludge and soil surface layer and use of soil amendments; we review the effects of different types of amendments at different spatial scales and their effectiveness with time. Monitoring of TE in soil and their transfer to plants (crops, herbs, shrubs, and trees) were evaluated to assess potential toxicity effects in the food web. The utility of some plants (accumulators) with regard to the biomonitoring of TE in the environment was also evaluated. On the other hand, retention of TE by plant roots and their associated microorganisms was used as a low-cost technique for TE stabilization and soil remediation. We also evaluate the experience acquired in making the Guadiamar Green Corridor a large-scale soil reclamation and phytoremediation case study.
Science of the Total Environment – Elsevier
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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