Atmospheric emissions of metals from anthropogenic activities have led to deposition and contamination of soils worldwide. We quantified addition of manganese (Mn) to soils around the largest emitter of Mn in the United States (U.S.) using chemical analyses and atmospheric dispersion modeling (Second-Order Closure Integrated Puff (SCIPUFF)). Concentrations of soil-surface Mn were enriched by 9-fold relative to that of the parent material within 1km of the facility. Elevated concentrations of Mn and chromium (Cr), another potentially toxic element that was emitted, document contamination only within 1m of the soil surface. Total mass of Mn added per unit land area integrated over 1m, mMn, equals ~80mgMncm-2 near the facility. Values of mMn remained above background up to tens of kilometers from the source. Air concentrations of Mn particles of 7.5-micron diameter simulated with SCIPUFF using available data for the emission rate and local meteorological conditions for 2006 were consistent with measured air concentrations. However, the Mn deposition calculated for 2006 with SCIPUFF yielded a cumulative value over the lifetime of the refinery (60years) that is a factor of 15 lower than the Mn observed to have been added to the soils. This discrepancy can be easily explained if Mn deposition rates before 1988 were more than an order of magnitude greater than today. Such higher emissions are probable, given the changes in metal production with time and the installation of emission controls after the Clean Air Act (1970). This work shows that atmospheric dispersion models can be used with soil profiles to understand the changes in metal emissions over decadal timescales. In addition, the calculations are consistent with the Clean Air Act accounting for a 15-fold decrease in the Mn deposition to soils around the refinery per metric ton of Mn alloy produced.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Waste Management and Disposal