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Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2442;

Comprehensive Study of Reclaimed Soil, Plant, and Water Chemistry Relationships in Highly S-Contaminated Post Sulfur Mine Site Jeziórko (Southern Poland)

Department of Forest Ecology and Reclamation, Institute of Forest Ecology and Silviculture, Faculty of Forestry, University of Agriculture in Krakow, Al. 29 Listopada 46, 31-425 Krakow, Poland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 June 2018 / Revised: 2 July 2018 / Accepted: 9 July 2018 / Published: 12 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sulfur Compounds in a Sustainable World)
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The aim of the work was a comprehensive study of the soils (pH, EC, SOC, NT, ST), surface waters (pH, EC, Ca2+ Mg2+, Na+, NO3−, SO42−, Cl, HCO3), and reactions of trees and herbaceous plants in the restored forest ecosystem of a former sulfur mine. Common birch and Scots pine growth reaction, vitality (according to IUFRO standards- International Union of Forest Research Organizations), nutrient supply (Na, K, P, Ca, Mg, K), and Calamagrostis epigejos (L.) Roth chemical composition (Na, K, P, Ca, Mg, K) were assayed. The chemistry dynamics (pH, EC, DOC, NT, Ca, Mg, and S at the beginning and end of the experiment) of soil leaching and the sulfur load leached from the sulfur-contaminated soil substrates were evaluated. The remediation effects of birch and pine litter were assayed in an experiment under controlled conditions. It was found that reclamation was effective in the majority of the post-mining site; however, hotspots with sulfur contamination reaching even 45,000 mg kg−1, pH < 2.0 and electrical conductivity (EC) of 6500 µS cm−1 were reported. Surface waters typically displayed elevated concentrations of sulfate ions (average 935.13 mg L−1), calcium ions (up to 434 mg L−1), and high EC (average 1797 µS cm−1), which was related both to sulfur contamination and the sludge lime that was used in neutralization. Calamagrostis epigejos was found to be a species that adapted well to the conditions of elevated soil salinity and sulfur concentration. It was observed that the application of organic matter had a significant beneficial impact on the chemistry of soil solutions, but did not show a remediation effect by increased sulfur leaching in a short-term study. View Full-Text
Keywords: sulfur; reclamation; acid mine drainage; salinity; soil contamination sulfur; reclamation; acid mine drainage; salinity; soil contamination

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Pietrzykowski, M.; Likus-Cieślik, J. Comprehensive Study of Reclaimed Soil, Plant, and Water Chemistry Relationships in Highly S-Contaminated Post Sulfur Mine Site Jeziórko (Southern Poland). Sustainability 2018, 10, 2442.

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