Use of composts in the remediation of heavy metal contaminated soil

Mark Farrell, Davey L. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


High levels of heavy metals in soil can ultimately lead to pollution of drinking water and contamination of food. Consequently, sustainable remediation strategies for treating soil are required. The potential ameliorative effect of several composts derived from source-separated and mixed municipal wastes were evaluated in a highly acidic heavily contaminated soil (As, Cu, Pb, Zn) in the presence and absence of lime. Overall, PTE (potentially toxic element) amelioration was enhanced by compost whilst lime had little effect and even exacerbated PTE mobilization (e.g. As). All composts reduced soil solution PTE levels and raised soil pH and nutrient levels and are well suited to revegetation of contaminated sites. However, care must be taken to ensure correct pH management (pH 5-6) to optimize plant growth whilst minimizing PTE solubilization, particularly at high pH. In addition, 'metal excluder' species should be sown to minimize PTE entry into the food chain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-582
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Use of composts in the remediation of heavy metal contaminated soil'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this