The Science of the total environment vol:367 issue:1 pages:405-17
The solid phase partitioning of metals (Zn, Cu and Pb) was determined in four anoxic, metal polluted sediments by investigating at pH 8 the 1 day oxidation kinetics of the metal sulphide phases present in the sediments in a background solution containing excess EDTA. A mathematical model consisting of a combination of two pseudo-first order reactions was used to fit the metal release data as a function of oxidation time. The model permitted to fractionate the trace metals in a 'quickly-oxidizable' and a 'slowly-oxidizable' fraction, which could be assigned to two different trace metal pools, respectively (1) FeS minerals (e.g. amorphous FeS, mackinawite) and (2) discrete trace metal sulphide phases. The sum of the fractions associated with these sulphide pools was taken as an approximation for the sulphide-associated fraction of the trace metals and coincided (for the case of Zn and Pb) with the sulphide-associated fraction derived from the analysis of acid volatile sulphide (AVS) and simultaneously extracted metals (SEM). Oxidation kinetics modelling allowed also determining the sulphide-associated fraction of a broad range of trace metals (as demonstrated for Cu) more accurately than the AVS/SEM method, which suffers from non-efficient extraction of a number of trace metal sulphides. A correction was made for the determination of the sulphide-associated fraction by subtracting the trace metal fraction dissolved after 1 day under anoxic conditions in the background EDTA solution. The combination of (1) one day oxidation kinetics modelling and (2) correction for the 1 day anoxic EDTA-soluble fraction is a suitable method to determine accurately the true sulphide speciation of trace metals in anoxic sediments.