European journal of soil science vol:59 issue:6 pages:1160-1170
Ageing reactions can reduce trace metal solubility and can explain natural attenuation of contaminated soils. We modelled ageing reactions in soil with an assemblage model that considers slow reactions in Fe-oxyhydroxides and reversible sorption on organic matter and clay minerals. Metal adsorption kinetics on Fe-oxyhydroxides was obtained from data with synthetic oxyhydroxides. Metal solubility and isotopic exchangeability data were obtained from 28 soils amended with Ni, Zn, Cu and Cd metal salts and monitored for 850 days. The assemblage model was constructed in WHAM 6.0 and used soil properties and dissolved organic matter as input data. The model was first validated to predict dissolved metal concentrations, based on the concentration of isotopic exchangeable metals. The model overestimated metal solubility without parameter adjustment by mean factors of 4-7, and successful fits were obtained by increasing the specific surface area of Fe-oxyhydroxides from measured values of synthetic systems to a value of 600 m(2) g(-1) recommended by other authors. The effect of ageing on the isotopic exchangeable metal fraction was subsequently modelled starting from the predicted fraction of metals present on Fe-oxyhydroxides immediately after soil spiking. The observed isotopic exchangeable metal fractions of Ni, Zn and Cd agreed reasonably well with predicted values. The model predicts that ageing reactions are more pronounced at higher pH because metal sorption is increasingly directed to oxyhydroxide surfaces with increasing soil pH. Modelling fixation of Cu requires more information on fixation of that metal in organic matter.