Model-based scenario analysis of the impact of remediation measures on metal leaching from soils contaminated by historic smelter emissions
Faculty of Sciences. Bioscience Engineering
Journal of environmental quality. - Madison, Wis.
, p. 859-868
University of Antwerp
A spatially distributed model for leaching of Cd from the unsaturated zone was developed for the Belgian-Dutch transnational Kempen region. The model uses as input land-use maps, atmospheric deposition data, and soil data and is part of a larger regional model that simulates transport of Cd in soil, groundwater, and surface water. A new method for deriving deposition from multiple sites was validated using soil data in different wind directions. Leaching was calculated for the period 1890 to 2010 using a reconstruction of metal loads in the region. The model was able to reproduce spatial patterns of concentrations in soil and groundwater and predicted the concentration in shallow groundwater adequately well for the purpose of evaluating management options. For 42% of the data points, measurements and calculations were within the same concentration class. The model was used for forecasting under a reference scenario, an autonomous development scenario including climate change, and a scenario with implementation of remediation measures. The impact of autonomous development (under the most extreme scenario of climatic change) amounted to an increase of 10% in cumulative Cd flux after 100 yr as compared with the reference scenario. The impact of remediation measures was mainly local and is less pronounced (i.e., only 3% change in cumulative flux at the regional scale). The integrated model served as a tool to assist in developing management strategies and prioritization of remediation of the wide-spread heavy metal contamination in the region.