Send to

Choose Destination

Heavy metal content in soils under different wastewater irrigation patterns in Chihuahua, Mexico.

Author information

College of Zootechnology and Ecology, Autonomous University of Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico.


An area near the city of Chihuahua has been traditionally irrigated with wastewater to grow forage crops. It has been hypothesized that metal levels could be found in these soils high enough to cause potential health problems to the population. The objective of this study was to determine heavy metal concentrations in different soils due to irrigation practices. Four soil types were evaluated; a soil with a past and present history of wastewater irrigation (S1), a soil with a history of wastewater irrigation until 2003 (S2), a soil with no irrigation history (S3), and a soil similar to S1 and adjacent to the river where the wastewater is transported (S11). Three soil depths were evaluated; 0-15, 15-30 and 30-50 cm. Consequently, a total of 150 soil samples were analyzed evaluating pH, EC, OM and the following elements; Na, K, Cd, Pb, Ni, Cr, Cu and Fe. The pH (P=0.000) and EC (P=0.000) were different for each soil type but no differences were noted for soil depth and the interaction. Maximum pH levels were noted in S3 with a value of 8.74 while maximum EC was observed in S1 with a value of 0.850 dSm-1. The OM level was different for soil type (P=0.000), soil depth (P=0.005) and the interaction (P=0.014). S1 and S11 obtained maximum levels of OM while minimum levels were noted in S3. Maximum OM levels were observed at the 0-15 cm depth followed by the 15-30 cm depth and finally at the 30-50 cm depth. The highest concentration of metals was as follows: K in S1 (359.3 mg kg-1); Cd in S1 (4.48 mg kg-1); Pb in S11 (155.83 mg kg-1); Ni in S1 (10.74 mg kg-1); Cu in S1 (51.36 mg kg-1); B in S3 (41.5 mg kg-1); Fe in S3 (20,313.0 mg kg-1), Cr in S3 (44.26 mg kg-1) and Na in S3 (203.0 mg kg-1). The conclusion is that some metals are present in the soils due to anthropogenic activities but others are present in natural forms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center