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Changes in soil properties in a fluvisol (calcaric) amended with coal fly ash

Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2009.11.025
  • Soil Physico-Chemical Properties
  • Coal Fly Ash
  • Amendment
  • Soil Geochemistry
  • Microcosms
  • Leaching
  • Agricultural Science
  • Chemistry


Abstract Fluidized bed combustion ash (FBC) is a by-product from coal-fired power stations used for many decades in concrete, cement and brick manufacturing and more recently for trace metal immobilization and pesticide retention in soils. Moreover FBC ash has been recommended by some authors as a soil amendment in agriculture for its nutrient supply. In this study silico-aluminous (SiAl) and sulfo-calcic (SCa) fly ashes have been added to a fluvisol (calcaric) sampled in the Rhine River plain (Germany) in order to investigate the physical, chemical and physico-chemical possible modifications of the amended soil. Earthworms were introduced into microcosms hydrated with a solution of water and CaCl 2 (3.7 10 − 4 mg/L; pH = 6.2) and stabilized during 7 and 14 weeks. Batch leaching tests were performed during 6 weeks on the amended soil in order to obtain data on the mobilization potential of major elements (NH 4 +, Na +, K +, Mg 2+, Cl −, Ca 2+, NO 3 −, SO 4 2−, PO 4 3−, H 4SiO 4) and trace elements (Sr, Ba, V, Zn, Cu, Co, As, Ni, Mo, Cr, Cd, Pb) during ash–soil–water interactions. The main modification is an increase in pH (≈ 12) of soil water in soil amended with sulfo-calcic ash, whereas soil pH only slightly changes in the other soil as compared to control soil. This alkaline pH causes a strong mortality of the macrofauna and a higher mobility of Co, Ni and V on the contrary to Cr, Cu, Pb and Zn which are less mobile and more strongly retained by soil. Soil physico-chemical properties remain generally similar to control soil in soil amended with silico-aluminous ash (SiAl) but show major differences in the case of soil amended with sulfo-calcic ash (SCa). The sulfo-calcic ash therefore seems less adapted to integration in soils from an agricultural and farming point of view, contrary to the silico-aluminous ash which increases the cation exchange capacity, thus improving the nutrient and water reserve for plants.

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