River water metal speciation in a mining region - The influence of wetlands, liming, tributaries, and groundwater

Sjöblom, Å., Håkansson, K., Allard, B.
Water Air and Soil Pollution


Changes in metal speciation occurring along the river Vormbäckenhave been investigated, and the potential for using such changes to reduce metal transport to areas further downstream has been evaluated.Vormbäcken is situated in a mining region in northern Sweden. Catchment area features likely to influence metal speciation include wetlands situated along the river, addition of treated (liming) effluent water from a mine area, and addition of other surface waters and groundwater. Surface water samples were collected from seven stations along the river on six occasions, representing different flow regimes. The total As, Ca, Cd, Cu, Fe, Pb, and Zn concentrations in the samples were partitioned into particulate (>0.4 µm and 0.2–0.4 µm, or only >0.2 µm) and dissolved (<0.2 µm, either associated with organiccarbon, or as free metal ions and inorganic complexes) fractions by means of filtration and an ion-exchange technique. The most important finding is that, with the exception of Ca, the fraction of particulate bound metals increased with increasing concentrations of particulate Fe. This Fe has its origin in surface waters and groundwater that join the river on its way through the catchment area. It is suggested that adsorption to, or co-precipitation with, such Fe-containing particles may have potential to be used as the initial step in a treatment method based on natural attenuation processes. Furthermore, the fraction of particulate bound metals decreased dramatically upon passing the lake Vormträsket, suggesting that some of these metals may be removed from the river system, at least temporally.



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