HEAVY METAL ACCUMULATION IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF TREES GROWN ON SEWAGE SLUDGE
Keywords:heavy metals, cadmium, bioaccumulation, woody plants, aspen, black locust, silver birch
Sewage sludge is a rest product deriving from the wastewater treatment plants. It is rich in nutrients and essential elements. Therefore sludge on-land utilisation can create an added value by recovering energy from biomass produced on marginal lands. However, widespread on-land recycling of sewage sludge might be limited due to high heavy metal content. Health organisations show an increasing concern about the risks posed to the environment and human health as many countries worldwide already are facing the heavy metal contamination problem. In the scientific literature it can be found, that high total heavy metal content is not directly related to an intensive metal uptake by plants. In this study samples were collected from three woody plant species (black locust, silver birch and aspen) growing directly on the sewage sludge in a storage site near Kaunas, Lithuania. Heavy metal content was detected separately in the leaves, stems and roots. It was determined that nearly all analysed heavy metals (lead, chromium, nickel, copper and zinc) were accumulated within normal range despite high total concentrations in the growing media, and only cadmium was accumulated at elevated concentration. Based on bioaccumulation factor, aspen could be considered as a Cd-accumulator and used for phytoremediation purposes.