Applied sciences

Archives of Environmental Protection


Archives of Environmental Protection | 2011 | vol. 37 | No 2 |

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Trace elements contained in coal escape with flue gas from energy sources into the air or move

towards other components of the environment with by-products captured in electrofilters (EF) and flue gas

desulphurisation (FGD) plants. The existing knowledge about the distribution of frequently dangerous trace

elements contained in these products is insufficient. Studies were therefore undertaken in selected power plants

to investigate the distribution of trace elements in coal, slag, as well as dust containment and flue gas desulphurisation products, such as fly ash captured in dust collectors, desulphurisation gypsum and semi-dry scrubbing

FGD products. Using the technique of flame atomic absorption spectrometry (F-AAS) and mercury analyser,

the following were determined in the research material samples: Cr, Cu, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn. The studies

have a reconnaissance character. The authors have presented the results of determinations for selected trace

elements in samples taken at Jaworzno III and Siersza Power Plants, which burn hard coal, and in Bełchatów

Power Plant, burning brown coal. A balance of the examined trace elements in a stream of coal fed into the

boiler and in streams of waste and products carried away from the plant was prepared. The balance based on

the results of analyses from Bełchatów Power Plant was considered encouraging enough to undertake further

investigations. The research confirmed that due to the distribution in the process of coal combustion and flue

gas treatment, a dominant part of particular trace elements’ stream moves with solid waste and products, while

air emission is marginal. Attention was paid to the importance of research preparation, the manner of sample

taking and selection of analytical methods.

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Authors and Affiliations

J. Konieczyński
E. Zajusz-Zubek
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A number of inorganic compounds, including anions such as nitrate(V), chlorate(VII), bromate (V),

arsenate(III) and (V), borate and fluoride as well as metals forming anions under certain conditions, have been

found in potentially harmful concentrations in numerous water sources. The maximum allowed levels of these

compounds in drinking water set by the WHO and a number of countries are very low (in the range of µg/l to a

few mg/l), thus the majority of them can be referred to as charged micropollutants. Several common treatment

technologies which are nowadays used for removal of inorganic contaminants from natural water supplies, represent serious exploitation problems. Membrane processes such as reverse osmosis (RO), nanofiltration (NF),

ultrafiltration (UF) and microfiltration (MF) in hybrid systems, Donnan dialysis (DD) and electrodialysis (ED)

as well as membrane bioreactors (MBR), if properly selected, offer the advantage of producing high quality

drinking water without inorganic anions.


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Authors and Affiliations

M. Bodzek
K. Konieczny
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Concentrations and elemental composition of fine (PM2.5) and coarse (PM2.5-10) ambient particles,

at two sampling points located at the same urban background sites, were investigated. The points were 20 m

distant from each other and at various heights (2 and 6 m) above the ground. A dichotomous sampler, equipped

with a virtual impactor, and a cascade impactor were used to sample the dust. An X-ray fluorescence spectrometer was used in the elemental analyses. The investigations revealed heterogeneity of the spatial distribution

and the elemental composition of suspended dust at the investigated urban background site. Coarse dust, whose

concentration at 2.0 m above the ground was affected by secondary emission from roads, soil and other local

low-level sources in some periods, appeared more heterogeneous.

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Authors and Affiliations

W. Rogula-Kozłowska
B. Błaszczak
K. Klejnowski
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The aim of this study was to determine the effect of different zinc and iron concentrations in culture

medium on growth and development of maize and wheat seedlings in terms of their inoculation with bacteria of

Azospirillum genus. Maize and wheat in vitro cultures were inoculated, respectively, by strains of Azospirillum

lipoferum and Azospirillum brasilense strains. The experimental factor was the supplementation of the culture

medium with zinc (25, 200 and 600 mg·kg-1 of the medium) and iron (25, 200 and 600 mg·kg-1 of the medium).

Counts of bacteria from the Azospirillum genus were analysed and plant seedling growth and development as

well as the content of chlorophyll in plant leaf blades were monitored.

Zinc turned out to reduce strongly numbers of bacteria of the Azospirillum genus. Azospirillum brasilense

turned out to be particularly sensitive to elevated levels of this chemical element in the environment. The negative influence of increased quantities of zinc on cereal seedlings became apparent only after the application of

the highest concentrations of this metal in the medium (600 mg·kg-1), while quantities which did not exceed

200 mg·kg-1 exerted a stimulation effect on the mass of maize and wheat seedlings.

Iron added to the culture medium in quantities which did not exceed 200 mg·kg-1 did not reduce numbers of

bacteria of the Azospirillum genus; on the contrary, they stimulated their growth. However, at higher concentrations, this metal turned out to exert a strong negative impact on the chlorophyll content in leaf blades as well as

on the mass of maize and wheat seedlings.

The inoculation with bacteria of the Azospirillum genus exerted a positive influence on the mass increase of

maize and wheat seedlings and increased chlorophyll concentrations in leaf blades. At the same time, it contributed significantly to limiting or even levelling out the toxic impact of zinc and iron during the initial phases of

plant growth and development.

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Authors and Affiliations

D. Swędrzyńska
A. Niewiadomska
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Petroleum products are complex mixture of compounds of varied biological properties. They can

cause harmful changes in contaminated ecosystems and threaten humans and living organisms as well. Bioremediation (including bioremediation stimulated by biogenic substances and inoculation with biopreparations

from autochthonous bacteria and fungi) can result in creation of metabolites of a varied structure and biological

activeness, which has been partly recognised. Some of them are more toxic than an initial substrate. Besides,

they might have mutagenic features and be responsible for cancer. Estimation of bioremediation effectiveness in

waste pits was completed with toxicological monitoring. It was led with the use of living organisms as biomarkers representing all trophic levels of a chosen ecosystem: producers, consumers and reducers. This process enables total estimation of natural environment conditions. The aim of the research was to determine the influence

of petroleum contaminants and indirect metabolites (produced during bioremediation) on soil biocenose. The

results of biotests (toxicity, phytotoxicity and genotoxity) have been taken into account. The following biotests,

prepared and produced by Microbiotest, have been applied: PhytotoxkitTM, Ostracodtoxkit FTM, acute toxicity

tests Microtox® Solid Phase and Ames mutagenicity tests. The obtained results enabled observation of changes

in toxic properties during purification of the soil taken from waste pits. In addition, it can be claimed whether

the areas are suitable for forest usage.

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Authors and Affiliations

T. Steliga
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The subject of investigations was the fragment of low peatland complex located close to Miękinia,

about 30 km from Wrocław. Within the range of the examined area of peat bog complex there can be distinguished three parts differing in their utilization and composition of species, namely: 1/ the area degraded by the

attempt to afforest it with alder trees Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertner, 2/ occasionally used bog hay meadow and

3/ typical peat forming phytocenosis. Total number of determined species, belonging to 11 phytosociological

classes, ranged 77, out of which more than a half constitute representatives of Molinio-Arrhenatheretea class.

As far as a non-afforested area was concerned, there were determined 5 phytocenosis, including 4 classified as

peat forming ones and one typical for post-bog meadows (Alopecuretum pratensis). The afforested area featured

herbaceous plant composition which indicated that the area with Alopecuretum pratensis phytocenosis had been

degraded. Analysis of environmental requirements, done with the use of ecological numbers, proved that prevailing number of species characterize similar requirements. It was mainly afforested part to feature taxons of

broader ecological scale, e.g. Polygonum bistora L., Carex hirta L. and Plantago lanceolata L.

The afforested area was purchased by a private person, therefore it can be assumed that the reason for such

a way of peatlands utilization was obtaining EU subsidies at minimum work effort. A higher financial profit,

however, would have been made by the owner if he had maintained a bog area as an extensive meadow.

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Authors and Affiliations

K. Tomaszewska
K. Kołodziejczyk
M. Podlaska
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Product quality tests require accurate and precise analytical techniques. Fertilizers belong to a group

of products whose chemical composition is of great importance due to health, environmental and economic

reasons. The following paper presents the results of the research into the content of selected substances in several mineral fertilizers manufactured in Poland. Ion chromatography (IC) was employed to determine selected

inorganic anions and cations, whereas energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (EDXRF) was used

to determine the content of selected elements.

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Authors and Affiliations

R. Michalski
A. Łyko
S. Szopa
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Water mint (Mentha aquatica L.) belongs to the arsenic tolerant plant species suitable for cultivation

in Central European climate conditions. Therefore, its possible application for remediation of contaminated soil

was investigated in pot and field experiments. Two M. aquatica plants of different origin, i) commercially market-available mint plants, and ii) plants habituated at the arsenic contaminated former mining area in southern

Tuscany (Italy) were tested for their arsenic uptake, transformation, and speciation. The total arsenic concentrations in the experimental soils varied from 21 to 1573 mg As kg-1, the mobile fractions did not exceed 2% of total

soil arsenic. The mint plants originating from the contaminated area were able to remove ~400 µg of arsenic

per pot, whereas the commercial plant removed a significantly lower amount (~300 µg of arsenic per pot). Only

arsenite and arsenate, but no organoarsenic compounds were identified in both stems and leaves. Arsenate was

the predominant arsenic compound and reached up to 80% regardless of the origin of the mint plants. Although

M. aquatica seems to be able to grow in contaminated soils without symptoms of phytotoxicity, its efficiency to

remove arsenic from the soil is limited as can be demonstrated by total elimination of As from individual pots

not exceeding 0.1%. Moreover, the application of plants originating from the contaminated site did not result in

sufficient increase of potential phytoextraction efficiency of M. aquatica. Although not suitable for phytoextraction the M. aquatica plants can be used as vegetation cover of the contaminated soil at the former mining areas

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Authors and Affiliations

J. Száková
P. Tlustoš
W. Goessler
T. Pokorný
S. Findenig
J. Balík
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The purpose of the investigation was to assess the suitability of sewage sludge, brown coal and a

mix of sewage sludge and brown coal to be used for fertilizing a light soil with an increased content of lead (I0


and slightly contaminated with cadmium (II0

). The subject of tests were soil and plant samples taken from a pot

experiment conducted during the years 2007-2009. The tests determined the effect of the type of fertilization

on the pH and sorption properties of the soil, the contents of heavy metals in the soil and in the plants, and the

volume of crops. The fertilization types applied had an effect of slightly increasing the soil pH. The application

of sewage sludge, brown coal and the mix of sewage sludge with brown coal to the soil resulted in an improvement of the sorption properties of the soil. In the soil treated with sewage sludge and the mix of sewage sludge

with brown coal, an increase in the contents of Cd, Zn and Pb was found. This increase was, however, small and

did not change the degree of soil contamination with heavy metals. In the above-ground parts of plants fertilized

with brown coal the concentration of heavy metals was lower than in biomass from plants cultivated on the

control combination. The application of sewage sludge and the mix of sewage sludge with brown coal generally resulted also in a reduction of metal contents in the above-ground parts of the plants. This was the effect of

enriching the soil with an organic substance that improves the sorption properties. From among the fertilization

combinations tested, the application of either sewage sludge or the mix of sewage sludge with brown coal had

the most favourable effect on the crop volume. It resulted in a twofold increase in the yield compared to the

control combination.

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Authors and Affiliations

E. Ociepa
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Laboratory and field experiments have been conducted to study mobility of chromium and lead in

floodplain sediments. The main goal of the research was to verify a hypothesis whether changes of chromium

and lead concentration could be used to estimate the relative age of floodplain deposits. The basis for undertaking such research was the presence of weaving industry centers in the Obra River valley between the 16th and

the 19th century and using Cr and Pb compounds in paint recipes. The Cr and Pb contents were also analyzed in

three vertical profiles unaffected by the field experiments. The age of organic sediments in each of the profiles

was determined using the radiocarbon analysis. The results of the laboratory experiments have shown that the

highest contents of the elements were noted in the surface layer of the sediments placed in the column. However,

the contents decreased during the last phase of the experiments and both vertical and horizontal migration of

both elements was observed. A more intensive mobility was observed in the field test. Its cause could be the

changes of the groundwater level, floodplain inundation and pH conditions in alluvial deposits. Such processes

may have influenced migration of the compounds originating from the weaving industry production; Cr and Pb

contents detected in the profiles unaffected by the field experiment were too small to be used for relative dating of alluvial deposits. Moreover, the alluvial deposits with increased contents of the studied elements may be

older than the period of the weaving industry development. Cr and Pb mobility was especially intensive in the

profiles situated within the near bed zone of the floodplain due to regular inundation, and the activity of erosion

and accumulation processes entraining the studied elements back to transport in the river bed.

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Authors and Affiliations

M. Słowik
Z. Młynarczyk
T. Sobczyński

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Archives of Environmental Protection

Instructions for Authors

Archives of Environmental Protection is a quarterly published jointly by the Institute of Environmental Engineering of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Committee of Environmental Engineering of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Thanks to the cooperation with outstanding scientists from all over the world we are able to provide our readers with carefully selected, most interesting and most valuable texts, presenting the latest state of research in the field of engineering and environmental protection.

The Journal principally accepts for publication original research papers covering such topics as:
- Air quality, air pollution prevention and treatment;
- Wastewater treatment technologies and processing of sewage sludge;
- Technologies in waste management in the field of neutralization / recovery / closed circulation;
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