Assessment of Heavy Metal Accumulation in Wastewater irrigated Soil and Uptake by Maize plants (Zea Mays L) at Firle Farm in Harare

Chipo Masona, Loveness Mapfaire, Stenly Mapurazi, Revai Makanda


A study was carried out in March 2010 at Firle Sewage Works in Harare, Zimbabwe to determine the effects of long term wastewater irrigation on the concentrations of heavy metals (Zn, Cu, Mn, Cd, Pb, Ni, Fe and Cr) in soil, and their subsequent accumulation in maize plants. The study revealed that long term wastewater use for irrigation results in heavy metal accumulation in soils and bioaccumulation in plants beyond maximum permissible limits (MPL) for both humans and livestock consumption. Lead had highest transfer factor and iron had the least transfer factor. The soil pH was found to be less acidic (pH = 5.6) in soils exposed to waste water than in soils where no wastewater had been applied (pH = 5). As a recommendation there is need for phytoextraction of heavy metals by intercropping maize plants with local agro forestry shrubs to reduce amount of heavy metals in the soil.

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