Skip to content
Publicly Available Published by De Gruyter June 18, 2021

Chemical composition of atmospheric particulate matter in the winter season as indicator of environment quality within urban areas

  • Anna V. Talovskaya EMAIL logo , Valeria D. Kirina , Victoria V. Litay , Tatyana S. Shakhova , Daria A. Volodina and Egor G. Yazikov

Abstract

This paper shows the results of environment assessment within some cities of Western Siberia (Omsk, Tomsk, Kemerovo) impacted with different types of industries and fuel energy. This assessment is made on the basis of chemical composition study of particulate matter deposited in the snow cover. It is determined the marker elements (heavy metals, radioactive, rare and rare-earth elements) in the particulate phase of snow, which is reflected the specific emissions from different types of industries (oil-refinery, petrochemical plants, mechanical and instrument engineering factories, brickworks, thermal power plants) in the urban areas.

1 Introduction

Cities are powerful sources of dust pollutants emissions that have an impact on the environment and on the health of the population. Industries are one of the main sources that influence the formation of the composition of atmospheric particulate matter in the urban environment [1], [2], [3]. Particulate matter adsorb a large amount of toxic substances and have a capacity to impact on health negatively. Coarse particles have a predominant effect on respiratory diseases. It is well-documented evidence that the most dangerous ones are fine and ultrafine particles, which have a serious impact on cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, including lung cancer [4], [5], [6].

The snow cover is a short-term depositing environment where particulate matter accumulate and transform, that makes the snow cover a convenient object for studying the chemical composition of particulate matter, as well as source identification. There are known some works on the study of the chemical composition of snow cover in urban areas of Russia [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14], the Republic of Kazakhstan [15]; Mongolia [16]; Lithuania [17, 18]; Slovenia [19]; China [20]. These studies are focused on the heavy metals content in the solid and liquid phases of snow cover, while other trace elements such as rare, rare-earth, and radioactive elements remain insufficiently explored.

In this regard, a convenient object for research is the urban areas of Western Siberia, that is a large industrial-developed region in Russia and corresponds to 15 % of the entire territory of the country. Engineering, metallurgy and chemical industries are well developed in different Western Siberian urban areas. However, heat and energy production is one of the main industries.

A specific feature of Western Siberian cities is that the anthropogenic sources are generally concentrated in the residential areas of cities. In the winter period, there is an intensification of the work of thermal power plants, where the main fuel is coal. In Western Siberia people live in the cities with hazardous air pollution level. One of the main pollutant is particulate matter which cause respiratory hazard as it contains a range of toxic elements. Therefore, it is relevant to assess the level of contamination with particulate matter containing a wide range of chemical elements including heavy metals, rare, rare-earth and radioactive elements in the urban areas of Western Siberia.

The purpose of this work is environment assessment in some cities of Western Siberia, being the influence of locate industries and thermal power plants, based on the study of the chemical composition of particulate matter deposited on the snow cover.

2 Materials and methods

In this work there were selected different cities that differ in population and industries – Omsk, Tomsk, Kemerovo located from each other at a distance of 200–800 km (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: 
Location of studied cities (Western Siberia, Russia; source: maps open source, modified).
Fig. 1:

Location of studied cities (Western Siberia, Russia; source: maps open source, modified).

Omsk is one of the largest industrial centers and million-person cities (1172 thousand people) in Western Siberia. The city has a complex environmental situation due to the activities of a large oil refinery, chemical and petrochemical industries, engineering plants and thermal power plants that use high-ash coal of the Ekibastuz basin.

Tomsk is one of the most important industrial, economic, scientific and educational centers in Western Siberia and one of the largest cities in terms of population (574 thousand people). A thermal power plant that uses coal from the Kuznetsk basin and natural gas, engineering plants, a large petrochemical complex and construction industry are deployed in the city.

In Kemerovo there are chemical and metallurgical industries and a thermal power plant that uses coal from the Kuznetsk basin. Kemerovo is one of the largest cities by population (556,920 thousand people). Snow cover was sampled in 1 × 1 km grids in Omsk, 0.5 × 0.5 km grids in Tomsk. In Kemerovo samples were collected in residential areas exposed to a coking plant and the coal-fired thermal power plant at a distance of 0.6–2.5 km from these plants.

Each sample of snow cover is weighing at least 16 kg and was collected by the pit method at the entire depth of the snow cover, with the exception of a 5-cm layer above the soil in accordance with the Russian State Standard for air pollution control (RD 52.04.186-89) and several studies [710, 18, 21, 22].

Sample preparation began with melting snow cover samples in plastic containers at room temperature. Then snow melt water was filtered through pre-weighed 1–2.5 µm Blue Line cellulose non-ashen filters (Russian State Standard 12026-76 for laboratory filter paper [23]) to obtain the particulate phase of snow cover, which was then dried at room temperature, sieved (using 1 mm sieve) and weighed. A total of 358 samples of snow cover were collected and prepared.

The content of 27 chemical elements in the samples was determined by instrumental neutron-activation analysis in the certified nuclear geochemical laboratory of the Uranium Geology International Center on the basis of the nuclear rector of Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU), Russia.

To identify anthropogenic anomalies in the snow cover, some ecological and geochemical parameters were calculated [8], [9], [10, 18].

The concentration coefficient (Kc) was calculated according to formula 1:

(1) K c = C i / C b

where Kc is the concentration coefficient; Ci is the element content in the particulate phase of snow (mg kg−1); Cb is the background element content in the particulate phase of snow cover (mg kg−1). The background values were previously obtained in the background area, which is more than 500 km away from the studied cities [24].

Next, the total contamination factor (Zc) was calculated using formula 2:

(2) Z c = K c ( n 1 )

where n is the number of the elements with Kc > 1 that are taken into account.

According to the Zc value, there is a classification for determining the level of contamination of snow cover with chemical elements: ≤64 – Permissible; 64–128 – Moderately hazardous; 129–256 – Hazardous and ≥256 – Highly hazardous [17, 21].

3 Results

The average content of heavy metals, metalloids, rare, rare-earth and radioactive elements in the particulate phase of snow cover in the studied cities is shown in Fig. 2. The analysis of the obtained data shows that there is an uneven distribution of chemical elements in the particulate phase of snow cover in the studied urban areas. Within the studied spectrum of elements geochemical features of the particulate phase of snow cover in urban areas are visible, which are formed under the influence of emissions from industrial production. The particulate phase of snow cover chemical element contents can be used as criteria for regional differentiation in terms of industrial contributions.

Fig. 2: 
Element content in particulate phase of snow and total contamination factor (Zc) in urban areas of Western Siberia.
Fig. 2:

Element content in particulate phase of snow and total contamination factor (Zc) in urban areas of Western Siberia.

The anthropogenic geochemical specialization of the particulate phase of snow cover in Omsk is characterized by high contents of La (Kc = 49); Tb, Yb, U (Kc = 18 ÷ 22), Ce, Sm, Lu, Ta, Sm, Ta, Ba, Sb (Kc = 3 ÷ 14) (Fig. 3), which form hazardous level of pollution in terms of Zc.

Fig. 3: 
Concentration coefficient (Kc) in particulate phase of snow in urban areas of Western Siberia.
Fig. 3:

Concentration coefficient (Kc) in particulate phase of snow in urban areas of Western Siberia.

The source of heavy metals, rare-earth and radioactive elements in Omsk can be the coal combustion at the thermal power plants. Studies of the particulate phase of snow cover in the vicinity of the thermal power plant of this city showed a significant enrichment of rare, rare-earth and radioactive elements relative to the background. The predominant impurity elements in the coals of the Ekibastuz basin are a group of siderophilic elements and scandium, as well as other trace elements [25, 26], respectively, these elements could be emitted into the air during coal combustion.

High levels of heavy metal (Zn, Sb, Ba, Cr, Co) contents in the particulate phase of snow cover were detected in the vicinity of the industrial hub of the city, where mechanical engineering and chemical production plants are located.

The highest levels of La, Ce, Cr and other rare-earth elements content in the particulate phase of snow cover were observed in the samples collected in the area of the oil refinery plant location. This plant produces and uses zeolite catalysts that are enriched with rare-earth elements. These processes probably cause the emission of La, Ce and other rare-earth elements into the atmosphere and then their deposition on the snow cover. Studies of particulate matter in the vicinity of some oil refineries in Spain [27] and in the United States [28, 29] have shown high enrichment of PM10 and PM2.5 with rare-earth elements such as La and Ce.

In the particulate phase of snow cover collected within Tomsk, U (Kc = 14), Tb, Yb, La, Ba, Zn, Sm, Ce, Na (Kc = 5 ÷ 12) accumulate most intensively, while Sb, Lu Th, Ta, Hf, Sr, Ca, Fe and Co less accumulate (Kc = 2 ÷ 4). The high content of elements (Kc ≥ 2) in the particulate matter of the snow cover forms the moderately hazardous level of pollution in terms of Zc.

We have identified the marker elements in the particulate phase of snow cover that characterize the specifics of pollution in the areas being the influence of locate industries. We found high content of Na and rare-earth elements in the samples collected around of brick works. The high content of As, Sr, Ba, Br, U, Th and lanthanides was detected in areas being the impact by fossil fuel thermal power plant. Br, Sb were considered as marker elements for samples collected in the impacted area of petrochemical plant. The high content of Ca, Cr, Fe were observed near plants for the production of reinforced concrete structures. Element composition of fly ash from fossil fuel thermal power plant and industrial dust from the brick works is comparable with the element content of the studied samples. These data helps to identify the sources of the studied elements.

In samples from the Kemerovo, elements with a high content relatively to the background include U (Kc = 25.6), Ba, Sm, Tb, Yb, La (Kc = 12 ÷ 18.3), Th, Na, Ta, Ce, Sr (Kc = 4.8 ÷ 8.4), which mainly form hazardous level of contamination. There is an even distribution of concentration coefficients with increasing distance in the northern (windward) direction from the boundaries of the coal-fired thermal power plant and the coking plant (from 0.6 to 4 km). In contrast, concentration coefficients were decreased in the southern (leeward) direction from the plants (from 0.8 to 2 km). Higher element concentrations coincide with the prevailing wind direction from the studied plants.

The input of the studied elements may be due to emissions from coal burning at the thermal power plant, that uses the coal of the Kuznetsk basin containing trace elements [25, 26, 30]. We found concentrations of have metals, radioactive and rare, rare-earth elements in fly ash of thermal power plants in Kemerovo. It may be indicated the sources of the studied elements. The chemical element distribution at these sites is likely to be strongly associated with fly ash, which is emitted by the thermal power plant. It is shown that the geochemical specialization of the coals of the Kuznetsk basin is well manifested in rare-earth elements of the cerium group and radioactive elements [26, 30]. Our results are comparable with the data on high U and Th contents in the snow cover in the vicinity of coal-fired thermal power plants in Novosibirsk [31].

4 Conclusion

As a result of the study, we determined the average content of heavy metals, rare and rare-earth, radioactive elements in the particulate phase of snow cover in some urban areas of Western Siberia, which differ in the type of industry and population. The content of these chemical elements in the particulate phase of snow cover leads a various level of pollution. It was revealed that in the urban area of the million-person city, the level of pollution is higher than in urban areas with a population of just over half a million.

The industrial emissions have the greatest impacts on the elemental compositions of particulate phase of snow cover. We identified the marker chemical elements in the samples that could be used for the source identification in urban areas.

The content of lanthanides in the particulate phase of snow cover was considered as indicators of oil refineries, brick works and coal-fired thermal power plants impacts. High Br-content was found in the vicinity of the petrochemical plant. Heavy metals were determined as marker elements in the particulate phase of snow cover collected in the areas where engineering plants and coal-fired thermal power plants are located. The areas around coal-fired thermal power plants are characterized by anomalous radioactive, rare and rare-earth element concentrations.

The particulate phase of snow cover can be used as an indicator of the chemical composition of airborne solid particles in urban areas.


Corresponding author: Anna V. Talovskaya, School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University, Tomsk, Russia, E-mail:

Article note: Snow cover, atmospheric precipitation, aerosols: chemistry and climate: reports of the III Baikal international scientific conference endorsed by IUPAC (March 23–27, 2020).


Funding source: Russian Foundation for Basic Research 10.13039/501100002261

Award Identifier / Grant number: 16-45-700184p_a

Funding source: BP Exploration Operating Company Limited

Acknowledgments

The experimental procedures were carried out at Tomsk Polytechnic University within the framework of Tomsk Polytechnic University Competitiveness Enhancement Program Grant in the Group of Top Level World Research and Academic Institutions. We are grateful Alexander Sudyko and Larisa Bogutskaya for their help in element content measurements (Uranium Geology International Centre, TPU).

  1. Research funding: This work was partially supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (grant number 16-45-700184p_a, 2016–2018) and by ВР Exploration Operating Company Limited.

References

[1] A. M. Antonova, A. V. Vorobev, V. A. Vorobev, E. M. Dutova, V. D. Pokrovskiy. Bull. Tomsk Polytech. Univ. 330, 174 (2019).Search in Google Scholar

[2] K. S. Baig, M. Yousaf. J. Earth Sci. Clim. Change 8, 404 (2017).Search in Google Scholar

[3] D. V. Simonenkov, B. D. Belan, G. N. Tolmachev. Chem. Eng. Trans. 22, 197 (2010).Search in Google Scholar

[4] A. Pope, D. W. Dockery. J. Air Waste Manag. Assoc. 56, 709 (2006), https://doi.org/10.1080/10473289.2006.10464485.Search in Google Scholar

[5] L. V. Veremchuk, K. Tsarouhas, T. I. Vitkina, E. E. Mineeva, T. A. Gvozdenko, M. V. Antonyuk, V. N. Rakitskii, K. A. Sidletskaya, A. M. Tsatsakis, K. S. Golokhvast. Environ. Pollut. 235, 489 (2018), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2017.12.122.Search in Google Scholar

[6] WHO. Outdoor Air Pollution a Leading Environmental Cause of Cancer Deaths, Lyon/Geneva, Switzerland (2013).Search in Google Scholar

[7] V. I. Grebenshchikova, N. V. Efimova, A. A. Doroshko. Environ. Earth Sci. 76, 712 (2017), https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-017-7056-0.Search in Google Scholar

[8] M. A. Gustaytis, I. N. Myagkaya, A. S. Chumbaev. Chemosphere 202, 446 (2018), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.03.076.Search in Google Scholar

[9] L. M. Filimonova, A. V. Parshin, V. A. Bychinskii. Russ. Meteorol. Hydrol. 40, 691 (2015), https://doi.org/10.3103/s1068373915100076.Search in Google Scholar

[10] N. S. Kasimov, N. E. Kosheleva, D. V. Vlasov, E. V. Terskaya. Vestn. Mosk. Univ. Ser. V 4, 14 (2012).Search in Google Scholar

[11] R. Pozhitkov, D. Moskovchenko, A. Soromotin, A. Kudryavtsev, E. Tomilova. Environ. Monit. Assess. 192, 192 (2020), https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-020-8179-4.Search in Google Scholar

[12] V. F. Raputa, V. V. Kokovkin, O. V. Shuvaeva. In 26th International Symposium on Atmospheric and Ocean Optics, Atmospheric Physics [115604R] (Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering; V. 11560), B G. G. Matvienko, O. A. Romanovskii (Eds.), SPIE (2020), https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2575606.10.1117/12.2575606Search in Google Scholar

[13] V. P. Shevchenko, S. N. Vorobyev, I. V. Krickov, A. G. Boev, A. G. Lim, A. N. Novigatsky, D. P. Starodymova, O. S. Pokrovsky. Atmosphere 11 (2020), article number 1184, https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11111184.Search in Google Scholar

[14] D. Vlasov, J. Vasil'chuk, N. Kosheleva, N. Kasimov. Atmosphere 11 (2020), article number 907, https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11090907.Search in Google Scholar

[15] E. Temirzhanova, M. T. Dyusembaeva, S. N. Lukashenko, E. G. Yazikov, E. Z. Shakenov. Bull. Tomsk Polytech. Univ. Geo Assets Eng. 331, 41 (2021).10.18799/24131830/2020/12/2937Search in Google Scholar

[16] O. I. Sorokina, N. E. Kosheleva, N. S. Kasimov, D. L. Golovanov, S. N. Bazha, D. Dorzhgotov, S. Enkh-Amgalan. Geogr. Nat. Resour. 34, 291 (2013), https://doi.org/10.1134/s1875372813030153.Search in Google Scholar

[17] E. Baltrėnaitė, P. Baltrėnas, A. Lietuvninkas, V. Šerevičienė, E. Zuokaitė. Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res. 21, 299 (2014).10.1007/s11356-013-2046-6Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[18] R. Taraškevičius, R. Zinkut, L. Gedminien, Z. Stankevičius. Environ. Geochem. Health 40, 1817 (2018), https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-018-0076-1.Search in Google Scholar

[19] M. Gaberšek, M. Gosar. Environ. Geochem. Health (2020), https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-020-00609-z.Search in Google Scholar

[20] Y. Gao, C. Yang, J. Maa, M. Yinc. Atmos. Environ. 174, 43 (2018), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2017.11.015.Search in Google Scholar

[21] Y. E. Saet, B. A. Revic, E. P. Janin, R. S. Smirnova, T. L. Onishenko. Environmental Geochemistry, Nedra, Moskow (1990) (in Russian).Search in Google Scholar

[22] N. I. Ianchenko. Bull. Tomsk Polytech. Univ. Geo Assets Eng. 331, 94 (2021).10.18799/24131830/2020/12/2943Search in Google Scholar

[23] Russian State Standard 12026-76 for Laboratory filter paper. Specifications, Available at: http://meganorm.ru/Data2/1/4294838/4294838884.pdf (in Russian).Search in Google Scholar

[24] E. G. Yazikov. Ecogeochemistry of Areas in the Western Siberia, p. 360, KG, LAP GmbH & Co, Germany (2011).Search in Google Scholar

[25] S. I. Arbuzov, S. G. Maslov, S. S. Il’enok. Solid Fuel Chem. 49, 167 (2015), https://doi.org/10.3103/s0361521915030027.Search in Google Scholar

[26] S. I. Arbuzov, I. Y. Chekryzhov, R. B. Finkelman, Y. Z. Sun, C. L. Zhao, S. S. Il’enok, M. G. Blokhin, N. V. Zarubina. Int. J. Coal Geol. 206, 106 (2019), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coal.2018.10.013.Search in Google Scholar

[27] T. Moreno, X. Querol, A. Alastuey, W. Gibbons. Atmos. Environ. 42, 7851 (2008), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.07.013.Search in Google Scholar

[28] B. Bozlaker, M. P. Buzcu-Güven, S. Fraser. Atmos. Environ. 69, 109 (2013), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2012.11.068.Search in Google Scholar

[29] P. Kulkarni, S. Chellama, M. P. Fraser. Atmos. Environ. 40, 508 (2006), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2005.09.063.Search in Google Scholar

[30] S. I. Arbuzov, D. A. Spears, A. V. Vergunov, S. S. Ilenok, A. M. Mezhibor, V. P. Ivanov, N. V. Zarubina. Ore Geol. Rev. 113, 35 (2019), article number 103073, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oregeorev.2019.103073.Search in Google Scholar

[31] S. Y. Artamonova. Bull. Tomsk Polytech. Univ. Geo Assets Eng. 331, 212 (2020).10.18799/24131830/2020/7/2731Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2021-06-18
Published in Print: 2022-03-28

© 2021 IUPAC & De Gruyter. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. For more information, please visit: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Downloaded on 5.3.2024 from https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/pac-2021-0313/html
Scroll to top button