Pollution and risk assessment of potential hazardous elements in a shooting range soils (NW Spain)

Andrés Rodríguez-Seijo, Manoel Lago-Vila, Daniel Arenas-Lago, María Luisa Andrade, Flora Alonso Vega


Pollution at shooting ranges is an issue of growing importance. Accumulation in soils of potentially harmful elements (PHEs) from ammunitions used is a major environmental risk. The total and available (extraction with 0.01 M CaCl2 and DTPA) content of As, Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb, Sb and Zn were evaluated in 10 soils from a shooting range for military use (León, Spain). The results showed that, among the studied pollutants, Pb is the element present in highest concentration (13.83-4451.57 mg kg-1), followed by Sb (1.80-96.10 mg kg-1), Cu (4.50-88.52 mg kg-1), As (13.24-62.47 mg kg-1), Zn (13.31-46.19 mg kg-1), Ni (11.53-46.30 mg kg-1) and Cd (0.30-1.00 mg kg-1). The strong soil acidity, its medium organic matter content and low proportion of clay, favor a high availability of these PHEs, particularly Pb and Cu. Although impact mitigation measures, such as collecting cartridges whenever a round of shots is fired in the shooting range, the pollution assessment indicates that performances should improve in the berm. The application of organic amendments, or nanomaterials, could help reduce the PHEs availability and avoid the contamination of adjacent areas.

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