Evaluating the Applicability of Regulatory Leaching Tests for Assessing Lead Leachability in Contaminated Shooting Range Soils

Xinde Cao; Dermatas, Dimitris
April 2008
Environmental Monitoring & Assessment;Apr2008, Vol. 139 Issue 1-3, p1
Academic Journal
The toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) is the current US-EPA standard protocol to evaluate metal leachability in wastes and contaminated soils. However, application of TCLP to assess lead (Pb) leachability from contaminated shooting range soils may be questionable. This study determined Pb leachability in the range soils using TCLP and another US-EPA regulatory leaching method, synthetic precipitation leaching procedure (SPLP). Possible mechanisms that are responsible for Pb leaching in each leaching protocol were elucidated via X-ray diffraction (XRD). Soil samples were collected from the backstop berms at four shooting ranges, with Pb concentrations ranging from 5,000 to 60,600 mg kg−1 soil. Lead concentrations in the TCLP leachates were from 3 to 350 mg l−1, with all but one soil exceeding the USEPA non-hazardous waste disposal limit of 5 mg l−1. However, continued dissolution of metallic Pb particles from spent Pb bullets and its re-precipitation as cerussite (PbCO3) prevented the TCLP extraction from reaching equilibrium at the end of the standard leaching period (18 h). Thus, the standard one-point TCLP test would either over- or under-estimate Pb leachability in shooting range soils. Lead concentration in the SPLP leachates ranged from 0.021 to 2.6 mg l−1, with all soils above the USEPA regulatory limit of 0.015 mg l−1. In contrast to TCLP, SPLP leaching had reached equilibrium, with regard to both pH and Pb concentrations, within the standard 18 h leaching period, and the analytical SPLP results were in good agreement with those derived from modeling. Thus, we concluded that SPLP is a more appropriate alternative than TCLP for assessing lead leachability in range soils.


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