Risk Assessment and Interpretation of Heavy Metal Contaminated Soils on an Urban Brownfield Site in New York Metropolitan Area

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In this study, soil samples were collected at 22 sites in Liberty State Park, New Jersey, in 2005, for metal enrichment and potential ecological risk assessment. The geoaccumulation index (Igeo) showed that enrichment levels of trace metals followed an order of Cu > Pb > Zn > As > Cr > Hg while the potential ecological risk factor (Eri) indicated that the potential ecological risk of the metals was in the order of Cu > Pb > As > Hg > Zn > Cr. Among these 22 sites, this investigation identified 9 sites at moderate ecological risk, 3 sites at considerable ecological risk, and 4 sites at high ecological risk according to the potential ecological risk index (RI). Hierarchical cluster analysis (CA) of soil metal concentrations separated the study sites into four groups, which are supported by the significant difference in RI values. Geographically, three regions in the Liberty State Park brownfield site were determined based on the CA results and RI values. Subarea 1 had low ecological risk while subareas 2 and 3 had a greater potential for ecological risk. Significant correlations of Pb with Cr and Zn were observed in subareas 2 and 3, respectively. This study shows that statistical approaches coupled with a risk assessment index provide a more comprehensive interpretation of land contamination than a single approach in support of planning land redevelopment.



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