Stability of Soil and Biosolid Nanocolloid and Macrocolloid Particles in the Absence and Presence of Arsenic, Selenium, Copper and Lead


Due to their enhanced stability and contaminant transport potential, environmental nanoparticles derived from soil and biosolid materials may pose a considerable risk to groundwater quality. Very little information exists on the stability and transportability of environmental or natural nanocolloids in the presence of As, Se, Pb and Cu contaminants, all of which are considered to represent substantial threats to human and animal populations through groundwater contamination. This study involved stability settling experiments of nanocolloids (NCs) (<100 nm) and macrocolloids (MCs) (100 - 2000 nm) fractionated from Bt horizons of three Kentucky soils and one biosolid waste material in water suspensions of 0, 2, and 10 mg·L-1 of As, Se, Pb and Cu. The results indicated greater stability in the mineral than the biosolid colloid fractions, and enhanced stability of NCs over corresponding MCs in the presence or absence of contaminants at low contaminant loads. At high contaminant loads nearly all colloids were unstable except for the bio-nanocolloids which still sustained considerable stability. At low contaminant loads, the MC fraction stability sequence was smectitic > mixed > kaolinitic > biosolid. Among the nano-fractions, the smectitic and kaolinitic colloids demonstrated lower stability than the MCs, but higher than those of the mixed and biosolid fractions. Physicochemical characterizations indicated that extensive organic carbon surface coatings and higher Al/Fe:Si ratios may have induced higher stability in the NC fractions, but their overall stability may also have been hindered in some cases by nano-aggregation phenomena.



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