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Evaluation of contamination by metals on a stretch of dirt road which leads the old processing plant Plumbum to the city of Adrianópolis (PR)

Grant number: 16/03011-1
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2016
Effective date (End): December 31, 2016
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Sanitary Engineering - Environmental Sanitation
Principal researcher:Valéria Guimarães Silvestre Rodrigues
Grantee:Giulia Meneguel Coltro
Home Institution: Escola de Engenharia de São Carlos (EESC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Carlos , SP, Brazil

Abstract

The Ribeira Valley region was an important mining center in Brazil, with several Pb's mines (6 in the state of Paraná and 3 in the state of São Paulo) and a lead smelter, located in Adrianópolis (PR). The company, responsible for processing and smelting Pb's ore (Plumbum), operated in the Ribeira Valley region, from 1945 to 1995. Throughout this period, this company was responsible for several environmental effects, resulted from the launch of mining waste in the Ribeira de Iguape river, the emission of gaseous pollutants and the improper disposal of solid waste (mining tailings and metallurgical slags). The smelter slag usually contains Pb, Zn, Sn, Sb, As, Cd and Fe in their composition. The slag was deposited directly on the ground, without any roofing material, therefore, they were exposed to weathering agents for 6 years (2001-2007). In 2007, part of the slag was relocated to the tailings disposal area, 50 m far from the old slag deposit. During the transport, occurred improper disposal of this material in a stretch of dirt road, between the slag landfill site (2 km far from the company) and the tailings disposal area. Even today, the slags can be found on the stretch of the road, which leads the old processing plant Plumbum to the city of Adrianópolis. The slag has different sizes from 0.2 mm to 7 cm. Thus, with the movement of cars, the fine particles can get suspend and, then, might be deposited in gardens and pastures nearby or be inhaled by the residents of the villages. Furthermore, metals leaching from metallurgical slags may occur due to rainwater. Therefore, a detailed study of the physical and chemical characteristics of these slags is necessary in order to assess whether the same are contaminating this place due to the presence of potentially toxic metals.

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