An investigation of environmental levels of cadmium and lead in airborne matter and surface soils within the locality of a municipal waste incinerator

R. S. Collett*, K. Oduyemi, D. E. Lill

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    The results of an investigation into the environmental impact of heavy metals in the airborne emissions from the Baldovie municipal waste incinerator, Scotland, are presented. A sampling network of 1-km grid squares covering a 7 × 9 km area was established over the incinerator plant and its surroundings. Surface soil core samples were collected from within each 1 km2 and analysed for cadmium and lead content. The spatial distribution of lead levels in soils showed a marked variation downwind from the Baldovie incinerator in comparison with the background level for the area but remained well within the typical range of lead in rural, unpolluted, British soils. A comparison of the observed levels of lead in local soils, with the predicted downwind long-term ground level lead distribution in air indicates that atmospheric emissions of lead originating from the Baldovie incinerator directly determine concentrations of lead in soils within a radius of 5 km of the incinerator. An empirical relationship between the levels of lead in soils and the long-term levels in air was established. In the case of cadmium, the spatial distribution of the heavy metal showed neither a marked nor extensive contamination of the sampled area around the incinerator and remained within the typical range of cadmium levels in rural, unpolluted, British soils. The work concludes that atmospheric emissions of lead from the Baldovie incinerator significantly determines the local distribution of lead in soils within the immediate vicinity of the incinerator.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)157-167
    Number of pages11
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Issue number2-3
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 1998


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