Trace Elements in Garden Soils, Vegetables and Apples Near a Large Cu Tailings Pond in SW Poland
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Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Institute of Soil Science and Environmental Protection, Wrocław, Poland
Research Centre for Cultivar Testing, Słupia Wielka, Poland
Cezary Kabała   

Instytut Nauk o Glebie i Ochrony Środowiska, Uniwersytet Przyrodniczy we Wrocławiu, Norwida 25, 50-375, Wrocław, Poland
Submission date: 2021-07-25
Final revision date: 2021-11-24
Acceptance date: 2021-11-27
Online publication date: 2022-03-07
Publication date: 2022-05-05
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2022;31(3):2601–2610
Copper ore mining, processing, and smelting are considered important sources of soil and crop contamination with metals and metalloids. The concentration of elements in soils and selected vegetable and fruit species has been monitored around a large-scale tailings pond (located in SW Poland) to evaluate its impact on soil quality and food plant production. The total concentrations of As, Cu, Pb, and Zn in root vegetables (carrot, parsley and beetroot), potato tubers and apple fruit grown in the backyard gardens in the surroundings of the Cu tailings pond were analyzed along with element concentrations in the topsoil layers. Element concentrations in plants were found at similar levels compared to products commercially available in Poland and did not exceed legal or provisional limits. The concentrations were noticeably lower than reported from the other mining or industrial regions and argued for little impact of the tailings pond. The concentrations measured in the present study did not differ from the respective values reported previously, suggesting a stable environmental quality in the landfill surroundings. Element concentrations in edible plant parts were poorly correlated with their concentrations in soils and the distance to the tailings pond, suggesting the importance of local or individual factors.