Journal of geochemical exploration vol:93 issue:2 pages:78-90
The modified BCR sequential extraction procedure [Rauret, G., López-Sanchez, J., Sauquillo, A., Rubio, R., Davidson, C., Ure, A., Quevauviller, Ph., 1999. Improvement of the BCR three step sequential extraction procedure prior to certification of new soil and sediment reference materials. J. Environ. Monit. 1, 57–60.] was applied to 4 sediments from a mine tailing pond in La Calamine (East-Belgium). The results showed a very different behaviour of different samples towards the same extraction scheme. In samples with an elevated acid neutralizing capacity, a significant increase in the pH of the extracts was measured after the first two extraction steps. Other artefacts, such as readsorption of metals and precipitation could be deduced by comparing X-ray diffraction patterns after different extraction steps. For example, anglesite was effectively dissolved during the acid extraction step (step 1) but relatively low Pb concentrations were measured in the CH3COOH extract because of the readsorption of Pb. Mineralogical analysis of the sediments after each extraction step also indicated the incomplete oxidation of sulphides by H2O2. Besides a mineralogical analysis, the monitoring of the pH of the extracts and the analysis of major elements (Fe, Ca, Al, Mn) can be helpful for the interpretation of the results of the sequential extraction.
The combination of sequential extractions with mineralogical sample investigation provided information on the reactivity and solubility of minerals in the samples. This improved the interpretation, at least within the detection limits of the mineralogical analysis applied. Besides the improved interpretation of the results of the sequential extractions for sediments in which minerals are identified, the information concerning the reactivity of minerals is an important tool to evaluate the risk associated with contaminated sediments.