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Ecology and environmental protection
ArticleName Assesment of soil cover in the reducing process of the impact of air emissions from the “Severonikel” plant on the environment
ArticleAuthor Evdokimova G. A., Kalabin G. V., Mozgova N. P.

Institute of the Industrial Ecology Problems of the North of Kola Scientific Center of Russian Academy of Sciences, Apatity, Russia

G. A. Evdokimova, Deputy Director on Scientific Work, Professor, e-mail:

N. P. Mozgova, Senior Researcher

Institute of Comprehensive Exploitation of Mineral Resources of Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

G. V. Kalabin, Professor


The aim of this investigation is to characterise the soil state by the gradient of the aerial emissions from the “Severonikel” Enterprise (Murmansk region). Total heavy metal content has been determined by atomic-absorption method used after preliminary ignition and decomposition by concentrated HNO3; conditionally mobile fractions have been extracted by acetated-ammonium buffered solution with pH = 4.8. The pH of the water soil suspension was measured potentiometrically; exchangeable calcium and magnesium were determined by complexometric method. The distinct dependence of the contents of priority pollulants Cu and Ni on the distance from the emission source provided a basis for zoning the studied area with respect to the pollution gradient. Three zones differing in the degree of the soil pollution were determined: heavy pollution — up to 3 km from the emission source, with Cu content exceeding background 46–17 times and Ni — 93–44 times, moderate pollution zone within 25 km with significant decreasing of Cu content 11–4 times, Ni — 26–10 times compared to the background and weak pollution zone within 50 km due to the wind rose. Within the area of the low pollution Cu content does not exceed two-time index in relation to the background, Ni does not exceed four-time. In the beginning of the XXI century the content of the priority pollutants released by industrial complex has been reduced compared to 1980–1990: Cu – almost three times, Ni – 5 times less. As for soil, there was no relevant reduction observed: in heavy pollution zone Cu content decreased on the average by 1.4 times, and Ni by 1.8 times. Phytotoxicity of the contaminated soils has decreased insignificantly. The soils of the heavy pollution zone are still highly-toxic for plants and soil organisms. The soils of medium pollution zone can be distributed between highly-toxic and low-toxic. The soil cover condition hasn't improved. Erosion processes still continues, square of vegetable cover is decreasing.

keywords Heavy metals, soil, pollution, zonation, toxicity, recovery, acid levels

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