Environmental assessment of heavy metals around the largest coal fired power plant in Serbia (Reprinted from Catena, vol 139, pg 44-52, 2015)
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Anthropogenic activities may lead to increased levels of heavy metals in soil environment and to reduced environmental quality. In this study concentrations of heavy metals (Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, V, Zn) were measured by using an atomic absorption spectrometer and soil samples were collected in the vicinity of the largest coal fired power plant in Serbia. The soil pollution status was assessed and enrichment by heavy metals at some sampling sites was revealed. For investigated metals the enrichment factors were in the range of 0.3 to 15.5, while the mean values indicated deficient to minimal enrichment of heavy metals in the investigated area. The highest contamination factor was determined for Ni, followed by Zn, Co and Cd. Cluster analysis was used to identify associations between heavy metals and soil properties. Significant positive correlations were found between: (1) Cd and Mn, Ni, Pb, Zn; (2) Cr and Cu, Fe, Ni, Pb; (3) Zn and Cu, Ni, Pb; and (4) Fe and V. Spatial distri...bution maps of heavy metal contents based on geostatistical analysis indicated similar patterns of spatial distribution for Co, Fe and V as well as for Cd, Mn, Ni and Pb. The hot spots for Co, Cr, Cu and Zn were revealed between two blocks of coal fired power plant in the investigated area. The distribution pattern revealed that the highest concentrations matched the predominant wind directions. It may be concluded that operation of the coal fired power plant has no significant negative impact on the surrounding environment with regard to the content of investigated heavy metals. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.