Rare earth elements in surface specific urban runoff in Northern Beijing.


Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China; Sino Danish Center for Education and Research (SDC), China. Electronic address: [Email]


Rare earth elements (REEs) have been increasingly diffused to the environment through mining activities and the extensive use in modern commodities, vehicular activities, coal burning and various environmental and agricultural applications. Studies of REEs in urban environments are limited with no data on REEs in urban runoff. To investigate the concentration and distribution of REEs, a total of 150 runoff samples were collected from trafficked areas, rooftops and residential parking lots in a moderate to densely populated area in Beijing, China. The runoff samples were separated into dissolved and particulate phases and analyzed by ICP-MS. The REEs were mainly (>80%) found in the runoff particulate material. The sum of REEs (ΣREE) total concentrations in urban stormwater runoff samples ranged from 0.16 to 185 μg/l. The observed mean total concentration of ΣREE in the runoff samples were 3-14 folds higher and dissolved fractions 1.5 to 6 times higher than published concentrations for recipients such as sewage channels and rivers. The distribution of REEs in runoff was dominated by light REE. Cluster analysis and Pearson's correlations revealed a strong association between the individual REEs pointing to a similar source. Higher Ce concentrations compared to other REEs indicated strong influence from traffic emission particulates. The La/Sm (5.90-8.05), La/Ce (0.53-0.58) and Ce/Yb (31.0-42.7) ratios pointed to REE sources from traffic emissions and coal burning thus defining an urban fingerprint.


Cerium,LREE,Particulate REE,Rain events,Source of REE,Urban fingerprint,

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