Content of the potentially harmful elements in soil around the major coal-fired power plant in Serbia: relation to soil characteristics, evaluation of spatial distribution and source apportionment
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The concentrations and spatial distribution of nine potentially harmful elements (PHEs), namely Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn, and their relation to soil properties were investigated in thirty soil profiles (0-50 cm depth) sampled around the largest Serbian coal-fired power plant (CFPP) Nikola Tesla A. Soil properties were determined following standard procedures, and total contents of PHEs were analyzed by atomic absorption spectrometer. Concentrations of Cd, Co, Fe, Mn, Pb and Zn were the highest in soil profiles sampled 1 km away from the CFPP, concentrations of Ni and Cu gradually increased up to 4 km, and the highest Cr concentrations were measured in samples taken 6 km away from the CFPP. The highest concentration of PHEs analyzed, except Mn, corresponded with predominant wind directions. Depth did not show significant impact on distribution of any PHEs investigated. Among soil properties, the total organic carbon showed the closest relationship with the PHEs. Data were p...rocessed by a principal component analysis which enabled distinguishing anthropogenic from natural influences on soil properties and PHE contents. Although the impact of CFPP operations is obvious, assets of principal component analysis did not allow clear distinction of CFPPs contribution from parent material in enrichment of PHE contents in the soil in the study area.