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https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2020-39
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2020-39
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  07 Aug 2020

07 Aug 2020

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A revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal SOIL and is expected to appear here in due course.

Spatial variability of heavy metal concentration in urban pavement joints – A case study

Collin J. Weber, Alexander Santowski, and Peter Chifflard Collin J. Weber et al.
  • Department of Geography, Philipps-University Marburg, Marburg, 35032, Germany

Abstract. Heavy metals are known to be among the one of the major environmental pollutants especially in urban areas and, as is generally known, can pose environmental risks as well as direct risks to humans. This study deals with the spatial distribution of heavy metals in different pavement joints in the inner-city area of Marburg (Hesse, Germany). Pavement joints, defined as the joint between paving stones and filled with different materials, have so far hardly been considered as anthropogenic urban soils. Nevertheless, they have an important role as possible sites of infiltration for surface runoff accumulation areas, and are therefore a key feature of urban water regimes. In order to investigate the spatial variability of heavy metals in pavement joints, a geospatial sampling approach was carried out on six inner-city sampling sites, followed by heavy metals analyses via ICP-MS, and additional pH and organic matter analyses. To obtain a risk assessment of heavy metal pollution, different pollution indices were calculated based on regional geochemical background values.

Pavement joints examined consist mainly of basaltic gravel, sands, organic material and anthropogenic artefacts (e.g., glass, plastics) with an average joint size of 0.89 cm and a vertical depth of 2–10 cm. In general, the pavement joint material shows high organic matter loads (average 11.0 % by mass) and neutral to alkaline pH values. Besides high Al and Fe content, the heavy metals Cr, Ni, Cd and Pb are mainly responsible for the contamination of pavement joints. From the Geo-accumulation Index, the pollution in pavement joints regarding those metals, can be considered as moderate to high. Deterioration of soil quality was reported according to the Pollution Load Index (PLI) for 82.8 % of all sampling points, as well as a very strong potential Ecological Risk (RI) for 27.6 % of the points. The identified spatial pattern of maximum heavy metal loads in pavement joints, could not be attributed solely to traffic emissions, as commonly reported for urban areas. Higher concentrations were detected at runoff accumulation areas (e.g., drainage gutters), and at the lowest sampling points with high drainage accumulation tendencies. Additional Spearman correlation analyses show clear positive correlation between runoff accumulation value and PLI or RI index (rsp = 0.83; p < 0.01). Further correlation analyses revealed different accumulation and mobility tendencies of heavy metals in pavement joints, based on sorption processes with humic substances, and an overall alkaline pH milieu, especially Cu, Cd and Pb, showed a higher mobility due to low sorption tendencies and pose a specific risk if recaptured by surface runoff. As the presence of heavy metals in pavement joints poses a direct risk for urban environments, and may also affect environments out of urban areas, if drainage transports accumulated heavy metals, we encourage further research to give more attention to this special field of urban soils. Overall urban geochemical background values, and the consideration of runoff related transport processes on pavements, are needed to develop effective management strategies of urban pavement soil pollutions.

Collin J. Weber et al.

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Collin J. Weber et al.

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Spatial variability of heavy metal concentration in urban pavement joints – A case study Collin J. Weber, Alexander Santowski, and Peter Chifflard https://doi.org/10.17632/b3d66r56k8.1

Collin J. Weber et al.

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Short summary
Pavement joints, defined as the joint between paving stones and filled with different materials, in the inner-city area of Marburg (Hesse, Germany) show a moderate to high pollution with different heavy metals. Enrichment of heavy metals in pavement joints is related to surface runoff accumulation. As the pollution of pavement joints poses direct risks to the environment and humans in inner urban areas, the inconspicuous joints should be considered in urban water management strategies.
Pavement joints, defined as the joint between paving stones and filled with different materials,...
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