Assessment of ambient background concentrations of elements in soil using combined survey and open-source data

Mikkonen, H, Clarke, B, Dasika, R, Wallis, C and Reichman, S 2017, 'Assessment of ambient background concentrations of elements in soil using combined survey and open-source data', Science of the Total Environment, vol. 580, pp. 1410-1420.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

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Title Assessment of ambient background concentrations of elements in soil using combined survey and open-source data
Author(s) Mikkonen, H
Clarke, B
Dasika, R
Wallis, C
Reichman, S
Year 2017
Journal name Science of the Total Environment
Volume number 580
Start page 1410
End page 1420
Total pages 11
Publisher Elsevier
Abstract Understanding ambient background concentrations in soil, at a local scale, is an essential part of environmental risk assessment. Where high resolution geochemical soil surveys have not been undertaken, soil data from alternative sources, such as environmental site assessment reports, can be used to support an understanding of ambient background conditions. Concentrations of metals/metalloids (As, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn) were extracted from open-source environmental site assessment reports, for soils derived from the Newer Volcanics basalt, of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. A manual screening method was applied to remove samples that were indicated to be contaminated by point sources and hence not representative of ambient background conditions. The manual screening approach was validated by comparison to data from a targeted background soil survey. Statistical methods for exclusion of contaminated samples from background soil datasets were compared to the manual screening method. The statistical methods tested included the Median plus Two Median Absolute Deviations, the upper whisker of a normal and log transformed Tukey boxplot, the point of inflection on a cumulative frequency plot and the 95th percentile. We have demonstrated that where anomalous sample results cannot be screened using site information, the Median plus Two Median Absolute Deviations is a conservative method for derivation of ambient background upper concentration limits (i.e. expected maximums). The upper whisker of a boxplot and the point of inflection on a cumulative frequency plot, were also considered adequate methods for deriving ambient background upper concentration limits, where the percentage of contaminated samples is <. 25%. Median ambient background concentrations of metals/metalloids in the Newer Volcanic soils of Melbourne were comparable to ambient background concentrations in Europe and the United States, except for Ni, which was naturally enriched in the basal
Subject Environmental Management
Soil Chemistry (excl. Carbon Sequestration Science)
Environmental Engineering not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) Ambient background
Open-source data
Upper concentration limit
Environmental Science
Environmental Engineering
Contaminated Land
Soil Pollution
Soil chemistry
DOI - identifier 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.12.106
Copyright notice © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
ISSN 0048-9697
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 10 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 4 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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