Environmental Toxicity Assessment of the Spilled Ajka Red Mud in Soil Microcosms for Its Potential Utilisation as Soil Ameliorant
After the red mud spill in Hungary one of the risk reduction measures was to remove the deposits from the soil surface. The residual thin red mud layer was ploughed into the soil. The aim of the present 8-month-long lab-scale microcosm experiment was to estimate the red mud amount with no adverse effects on the soil as natural habitat and to assess the mid-term environmental risk of red mud mixed into the soil. The red mud ratio mixed into the soil ranged between 0–40 %. The experiments were monitored by physico-chemical, biological and ecotoxicological methods. Mixing of 5 % red mud into the soil significantly increased the total As, Cr, Ni, Pb and Na content of the soil, but it did not exceed the Hungarian soil quality criteria. The microcosms containing 5 % red mud did not show any adverse effects on the testorganisms. Overall, 5 % red mud could be mixed into the soil without any mid-term adverse effects.