Plant and Soil

, Volume 299, Issue 1–2, pp 117–130 | Cite as

Liming to remediate Ni contaminated soils with diverse properties and a wide range of Ni concentration

  • Grzegorz Siebielec
  • Rufus L. Chaney
  • Urszula Kukier
Regular Article


Historic emissions from a Ni refinery at Port Colborne, Ontario, caused Ni contamination of regional soils and raised concerns about potential Ni phytotoxicity. Previous tests revealed that if these soils were made alkaline and fertilized with Mn and other common nutrients as needed to maintain fertility of such alkaline soils, full remediation (prevention of Ni phytotoxicity) would be obtained. This experiment was conducted to test this method of remediation on diverse soils from Port Colborne, and to evaluate chemical extraction tests which would be predictive of plant uptake and potential for Ni phytotoxicity in Ni-contaminated soils. Ten soils with varied levels of Ni contamination and varied soil properties were amended with limestone or nitric acid to raise or lower pH so that a wide pH range could be examined for the soils. For lower Ni organic and mineral soils near the Ontario remediation limit (200 mg/kg), neither crop suffered Ni phytotoxicity at any pH tested. Only when more highly contaminated soils were strongly acidic did Ni phytotoxicity occur. Phytotoxic soils were fully remediated by making soils alkaline even for these Ni-sensitive crop species. Only the most contaminated organic soil remained slightly toxic – but this soil was remarkably contaminated (over 1.1% of Ni). The Sr nitrate extraction method was much more effective in predicting plant Ni concentrations than the DTPA method. This test provides an inexpensive soil extraction result highly predictive of potential for Ni phytotoxicity across soils.


Contamination Extraction Liming Nickel Phytotoxicity Remediation 



This research was funded by Viridian Resources LLC, Houston, TX, and Inco Ltd., Toronto, Canada. We gratefully acknowledge Dr. Carrie Green for assistance with sample analysis by ICP; and Eric Brewer for advice and assistance with growing the crops in the greenhouse.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Grzegorz Siebielec
    • 1
  • Rufus L. Chaney
    • 2
  • Urszula Kukier
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Soil Science and Plant CultivationPulawyPoland
  2. 2.Animal Manure & By-products LaboratoryUSDA-ARSBeltsvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Crop and Environmental Soil SciencesVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA

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