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‘Green rusts’ are a group of reduced Fe hydroxides with a pyroaurite-like structure. In a new occurrence, green rust is present as a 45–60 mm thick band which lies just below the surface (∼4 mm) of an ochreous deposit at an abandoned coal mine site. The sample is characterized by the presence of μm-sized hexagonal crystals which have been identified from SEM imaging. Chemical analyses reveal an Fe(II):Fe(III) ratio which is close to the characteristic 2:1 ratio, and XRD analysis identifies the material by characteristic lattice spacings. The green rust layer also contains aragonite which is not present in the surrounding ochre. Green rusts are important as they have the potential to be used in water treatment.
Three collated geochemical surveys of surface water in the Clyde catchment have established the spatial variability in water composition, primarily under baseflow conditions. The waters are broadly pH-neutral to alkaline (maximum pH 8.7) in the lowlands, but mildly acidic in uplands on the catchment periphery. Electrical conductance is relatively high in lowland streams (maximum 8320μgL–1), with lower values in the uplands. Dissolved chromium (Cr; <0.05–971μgL–1) and lead (Pb; <0.05–19.4μgL–1) are of importance due to recognised pollution sources within the catchment. High aqueous Cr concentrations (>5μgL–1) are recorded in urban areas associated with the disposal of alkaline industrial chromite ore processing residue. Under such conditions, Cr probably occurs as Cr(VI). Numerous relatively high Pb values occur in the upland and urban areas. These are likely to be associated with a combination of soil reactions, diffuse pollution and contamination from Pb mineralisation/mining. Pb has a stronger correlation with water pH than with stream sediment Pb content, suggesting that pH has a greater control on Pb mobility than host-rock Pb. Exceedances of water-quality standards are <1% for both Cr and Pb across the catchment. Absolute exceedances are more extreme for Cr than for Pb, highlighting the scale of the Cr pollution problem for urban surface water within the catchment.
An assessment of topsoil (5–20cm) metal/metalloid (hereafter referred to as metal) concentrations across Glasgow and the Clyde Basin reveals that copper, molybdenum, nickel, lead, antimony and zinc show the greatest enrichment in urban versus rural topsoil (elevated 1.7–2.1 times; based on median values). This is a typical indicator suite of urban pollution also found in other cities. Similarly, arsenic, cadmium and lead are elevated 3.2–4.3 times the rural background concentrations in topsoil from the former Leadhills mining area. Moorlands show typical organic-soil geochemical signatures, with significantly lower (P<0.05) concentrations of geogenic elements such as chromium, copper, nickel, molybdenum and zinc, but higher levels of cadmium, lead and selenium than most other land uses due to atmospheric deposition/trapping of these substances in peat. In farmland, 14% of nickel and 7% of zinc in topsoil samples exceed agricultural maximum admissible concentrations, and may be sensitive to sewage-sludge application. Conversely, 5% of copper, 17% of selenium and 96% of pH in farmland topsoil samples are below recommended agricultural production thresholds. Significant proportions of topsoil samples exceed the most precautionary (residential/allotment) human-exposure soil guidelines for chromium (18% urban; 10% rural), lead (76% urban; 45% rural) and vanadium (87% urban; 56% rural). For chromium, this reflects volcanic bedrock and the history of chromite ore processing in the region. However, very few soil types are likely to exceed new chromiumVI-based guidelines. The number of topsoil samples exceeding the guidelines for lead and vanadium highlight the need for further investigations and evidence to improve human soil-exposure risk assessments to better inform land contamination policy and regeneration.
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