Using Geostatistics to Predict Soil Lead Distribution in Akron (Ohio), and Implications for Urban Community Gardens

Authors: Ortis Yankey*, The University of Akron
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Soils
Keywords: Soil Lead, Geostatistics, Urban Gardens
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Urban soils are often polluted with soil lead (Pb) from historical deposition of Pb from air pollution which may pose significant health risk to children under the age of six years, as well as plants that are cultivated in urban gardens. The aim of my project was therefore to assess the spatial distribution of soil Pb in the city of Akron (Ohio), and to assess the potential for plants cultivated in urban gardens to absorb soil Pb.
This study used four interpolation methods to interpolate soil Pb values at unmeasured locations and a comparison was made between the four methods to assess how best predictions were made for unmeasured locations. The four interpolation technique used were Ordinary kriging, Co-kriging, Empirical Bayesian Kriging (EBK) and Inverse Distance Weighting. A survey of urban gardens was also conducted to ascertain the type of plant gardeners mostly cultivated and whether they adopted measures in reducing plant soil Pb uptake.
Results from the study showed that, the output surface from the four methods were relatively similar, and most surfaces within the city had soil Pb exceeding 600ppm. The EBK model gave the best predicted surface when the four methods were compared. The study also found that whilst soil Pb was extremely high for most places within the city, gardeners replaced old soils with new clean soil and majority of the crops they cultivated were fruit vegetables. Therefore the potential for plants cultivated in these gardens to absorb soil Pb is minimal.

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