Arsenic levels in the soils and macrophytes of the 'Entremuros' after the Aznalcóllar mine spill

M A Taggart, M Carlisle, D J Pain, R Williams, D Osborn, A A Meharg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


In April 1998, a holding lagoon containing pyrite ore processing waste rich in arsenic, failed and released 5-6 million m(3) of highly polluting sludge and acidic water. Over 2700 ha of the internationally important Doñana National and Natural Parks were contaminated. The area of Natural Park to sustain the greatest impact was known as the Entremuros. This paper presents 0-5 cm soil monitoring data from the Entremuros, from sampling campaigns 6 and 18 months after the disaster; as well as macrophyte root, rhizome and stem data from samples taken 18 months after the spill. Results show a clear, decreasing, north-south arsenic soil pollution trend, both 6 and 18 months after the spill, and suggest a small reduction in total soil arsenic levels occurred over time; although a significant increase in extractable arsenic is also noted. The two macrophytes (Typha dominguensis and Scirpus maritimus) studied herein are not accumulating arsenic in stem parts, however, accumulation of arsenic on iron plaque on the roots of these plants may be occurring. Further work is recommended in order to determine the ecotoxicological significance of this process in relation to the avian food-chains of Doñana, and elsewhere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-38
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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