Since contaminated river-bed sediments in the Cam River-mouth (Vietnam) are regularly dredged and disposed on land, an understanding of the influence of time, pH and oxidation on the leaching behavior of heavy metals (Cd, Cu, Mn, Pb and Zn) and arsenic is necessary for the management of these dredged materials. A 96 h pH(stat)-leaching test to examine the leaching behavior of elements at pre-set pH values (2, 4, 6, 8 (natural), 9 and 11) and a BCR 3-step extraction to clarify the element fractionation, were performed on a freshly-collected wet suboxic sediment and a dry oxidized sediment. All heavy metals and arsenic display a V-shaped pH-dependent leaching pattern with important releases at pHs 2 and 11. At the investigated pH values, the release of As, Mn, Pb and Zn from the oxidized sediment is slower and lower if compared with the suboxic sediment while the opposite trend is found for Cd and Cu at pHs 2-8. The transfer from the acid-soluble (exchangeable and carbonate-bound) fraction to the reducible (Fe and Mn hydr/oxide-bound) fraction is consistent with the lower leachability of As, Mn and Zn at pHs 2-8 and Pb at pHs 4-8 after oxidation, while the transfer from the oxidizable (organic matter and sulfide-bound) fraction to the reducible fraction relates to the higher leachability of Cd and Cu at pHs 2-8. The lower leachability of all elements at alkaline pHs 9-11 is due to lower leached concentration of organic matter from the oxidized sediment. Sulfides only play a minor role in controlling the leachability of heavy metals and arsenic.
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