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Railway transportation as a serious source of organic and inorganic pollution

Authors
Journal
Water Air & Soil Pollution
0049-6979
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Volume
218
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s11270-010-0645-0
Keywords
  • Article

Abstract

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metal (Pb, Cd, Cu, Zn, Hg, Fe, Co, Cr, Mo) contents were established in soil and plant samples collected in different areas of the railway junction Iława Główna, Poland. Soil and plant samples were collected in four functional parts of the junction, i.e. the loading ramp, main track within platform area, rolling stock cleaning bay and the railway siding. It was found that all the investigated areas were strongly contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The PAH contamination of the soil was the highest in the railway siding and in the platform area (59,508 and 49,670 μg kg−1, respectively). In the loading ramp and cleaning bay, the PAH concentration in soil was lower but still relatively very high (17,948 and 15,376 μg kg−1, respectively). The contamination in the railway siding exceeded the average control level up to about 80 times. In the soil of all the investigated areas, four- and five-ring PAHs prevailed. The concentrations of PAHs were determined in four dominating species of plants found at the junction. The highest concentration was found in the aerial parts of Taraxacum officinale (22,492 μg kg−1) growing in the cleaning bay. The comparison of the soil contamination with PAHs in the investigated railway junction showed a very significant increase of the PAHs level since 1995. It was found that the heavy metal contamination was also very high. Pb, Zn, Hg and Cd were established at the highest levels in the railway siding area, whereas Fe concentration was the highest in the platform area. A significant increase in mercury content was observed in the cleaning bay area. The investigations proved very significant increase of contamination with PAHs and similar heavy metals contamination in comparison with the concentration determined in the same areas 13 years ago.

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