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Environmental soil quality of the city of Sevilla

Urban soils were analysed in 154 sites and 2 depths. Several parameters considered as general indicators of soil quality of the soils were measured: soil pH, contents of carbonate, organic C, N, P, and K, size distribution analysis (sand, silt, clay), electrical conductivity, cation exchange capacity, and contents of several metals that are considered as potential pollutants: Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn, and also Fe and Mn as metals that can be considered to be unlikely to be influenced by human intervention. The metal contents were determined by two different methods, digestion with aqua regia and extraction with EDTA solution. The former includes those metal forms of greater environmental interest ("pseudo totals") and the latter represents an estimate of the most "available" contents. Fractions of different availability were estimated by a sequential extraction protocol proposed by the European Commission through the Standards, Measurement and Testing Programme.

The soils in Sevilla are moderately polluted with some metals (copper, lead and zinc) in some localized sites, often-ornamental gardens. However, most large parks do not show especially high contents of these metals, except in some particular spots. These 3 metals are some of those considered as of urban origin in the literature. Other metals considered as pollutants in other cities (chromium, nickel) are present in low concentrations and thus are not cause for concern. The quality of any amendments added to the city soils by the Parks & Gardens Service should be observed concerning their contents of pollutants, and possible practices for decreasing metal availability should be studied.

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