Spatial distribution of smelter emission heavy metals on farmland soil

  • Weiqin Xing
  • Yali Zheng
  • Kirk G. Scheckel
  • Yongming Luo
  • Liping LiEmail author


This work was conducted to explore heavy metal pollution in soils in an area near lead smelters in Jiyuan City, which is one of the main lead production areas in China. Altogether, 88 topsoil samples (0–20 cm) were collected from farmlands near the Yuguang lead smelting facilities; the sampling sites were 1570 to 6388 m to the main stack of the Yuguang. Analysis of the samples indicated that (i) the ranges of total Cd and Pb concentrations were 0.81–4.30 and 64.5–435 mg kg−1, respectively, mean pollution indices (concentration in soil/background value, PI) were 32.8 and 9.11, respectively, and the concentrations of total Cu, Zn, and Ni were slightly higher than the background values. Mean concentrations of DTPA-extractable Cd and Pb were 0.752 and 58.7 mg kg−1, respectively. (ii) The total concentrations of Cd, Pb and Pb/Cd ratios of samples decreased as the distance to the main stack of the Yuguang increased. Abnormal variations of these trends suggested these parameters of certain samples were affected by pollution sources other than the Yuguang. (iii) Judged by the results of this work, the area of the heavy metal-polluted land in Jiyuan was much greater than 115 km2, a value reported by an earlier investigation. These results indicate that the soil in the study area was polluted by Cd and Pb emissions from more than one polluting sources, the variation of Cd, Pb concentration and Pb/Cd ratios of samples to the distance of the pollution source can be potentially used for pollution source identification.


Lead smelting Soil Heavy metal Distance Pb/Cd ratio Pollution source 



The authors want to thank Mr. Wuzheng Zhai, Ming Cai, Xiaojian Hu, and Juntao Liu for their help in sample collection and processing. Although EPA contributed to this article, the research presented was not performed by or funded by EPA and was not subject to EPA’s quality system requirements. Consequently, the views, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect or represent EPA’s views or policies.

Funding information

This work was sponsored by The National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFE0106400 and 2018YFD0800304) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (41471253).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Chemistry and the EnvironmentHenan University of TechnologyZhengzhouChina
  2. 2.U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Risk Management Research LaboratoryCincinnatiUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Soil ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina

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