Di Giuseppe, D., M. Melchiorre, B. Faccini, G. Ferretti, and M. Coltorti (2017), Effects of middle-term land reclamation on nickel soil-water interaction: a case study from reclaimed salt marshes of Po River Delta, Italy, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 189(10), 523, doi: 10.1007/s10661-017-6240-8.
Reclaimed salt marshes are fragile environments where water salinization and accumulation of heavy metals can easily occur. This type of environment constitutes a large part of the Po River Delta (Italy), where intensive agricultural activities take place. Given the higher Ni background of Po River Delta soils and its water-soluble nature, the main aim of this contribution is to understand if reclamation can influence the Ni behavior over time. In this study, we investigated the geochemical features of 40 soils sampled in two different localities from the Po River Delta with different reclamation ages. Samples of salt marsh soils reclaimed in 1964 were taken from Valle del Mezzano while soils reclaimed in 1872 were taken nearby Codigoro town. Batch solubility tests and consecutive determination of Ni in pore-water were compared to bulk physicochemical compositions of soils. Bulk Ni content of the studied soils is naturally high, since these soils originated from Po River sediments derived from the erosion of ultramafic rocks. Moreover, it seems that Ni concentration increases during soil evolution, being probably related to the degradation of serpentine. Instead, the water-soluble Ni measured in the leaching tests is greater in soils recently reclaimed compared to the oldest soils. Soil properties of two soil profiles from a reclaimed wetland area were examined to determine soil evolution over one century. Following reclamation, pedogenic processes of the superficial horizons resulted in organic matter mineralization, pH buffer, and a decrease of Ni water solubility from recently to evolved reclaimed soil.