Environmental assessment of soil contamination by trace metals

Keywords: soil contamination, trace metals, environmental assessment, military actions


The main purpose. The purpose of this research is to develop a method for determining the level of heavy metal contamination in the soil. For this end, the following tasks are set:

- to develop a method for the integrated assessment of heavy metal contamination in the soil at the regional and local levels;

- to identify the most heavy metal contaminated regions of Ukraine;

- to estimate the level of hazard of heavy metal contamination in the soil for territories with different types of land use;

- to assess the pollution of soils with heavy metals as a result of hostilities in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Methodology. The method takes into account the soil morphology, genezises, trace metals background concentrations and based on the development of the self-purification index for various soils in different regions of Ukraine. According to the proposed method soils have been classified by trace metals contamination.

Results. At the local level, trace metals in soils were assessed for urban recreational areas, highways and roads, landfills and industrial zones. The soils in recreational areas were classified as ‘good’, highways and roads are classified as ‘satisfactory’ and ‘poor’, industrial and landfill was classified as ‘very poor’ according to the trace metals contamination. At the regional level, the highest contamination Class was given to the soils of Donetsk and Luhansk regions due to the highest density of industrial areas and performed military activities. The environmental assessment of trace metals contamination in soils due to the military activity was performed for these regions. The results of trace metals determination in Kharkiv according to this method indicate that the most dangerous areas are domestic waste landfills and facilities of the industrial companies. Recreation zones are ranked in Class 2. and the territory near the highways are assessed in quality Class 2 and 3. Assessment of the hazard level of trace metal contamination in the soil by the proposed method will allow making a scientifically substantiated decision on the priority of implementation of environmental measures.

Scientific novelty. The paper presents a new method of assessing soil contamination with heavy metals at the regional and local level. The advantage of this method is taking into account the hazard class of pollutants and the self-cleaning index. A new classification of the level of danger of soil contamination with heavy metals has been developed.

Practical significance. The use of the proposed methodological approach will contribute to obtaining comparable data when assessing the level of soil contamination by heavy metals and determining the priority of implementing environmental protection measures and increasing the level of environmental safety, which is especially relevant for the post-war recovery of our country.


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Author Biographies

Olha Rybalova, National university of civil defense of Ukraine

PhD (Technics), Associate Professor

Hanna Korobkova, Luhansk Taras Shevchenko National University

PhD (Geography), Associate Professor

Oleksandr Chynchyk, State Agrarian and Engineering University in Podilya

DSc (Agriculture), Associate Professor

Tatyana Stryzhak, Volodymyr Dahl East Ukrainian National University

PhD (Agriculture), Associate Professor

Oleksandr Bondar, Taras Shevchenko Regional Humanitarian-Pedagogical Academy of Kremenets

PhD (Agriculture), Senior Lecturer


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How to Cite
Rybalova, O., Korobkova, H., Chynchyk, O., Stryzhak, T., & Bondar, O. (2022). Environmental assessment of soil contamination by trace metals . Visnyk of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Series "Geology. Geography. Ecology", (57), 307-320. https://doi.org/10.26565/2410-7360-2022-57-23