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Impact of Sewage Sludge on Groundwater Quality at a Formerly Remediated Tailings Impoundment
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Geosciences and Environmental Engineering.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Geosciences and Environmental Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7291-8585
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Geosciences and Environmental Engineering.
2014 (English)In: Mine Water and the Environment, ISSN 1025-9112, E-ISSN 1616-1068, Vol. 33, no 1, p. 66-78Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sewage sludge can be a suitable, organic-rich substrate to promote vegetation ofsulfide-mine tailings, but it may contain contaminants, that, when oxidized, canadversely affect underlying groundwater systems. The geochemical impact of asurface application of 12,000 metric tons of anaerobically-digested sewage sludge on the groundwater quality of a remediated sulfide-tailings impoundment in northern Sweden was evaluated to determine if sludge-borne metals and nitrate were released to the underlying groundwater system. Two years of data from a field-scale groundwater monitoring programme initiated just before the sludge application was compared to groundwater data from 1998-2006. Grass was successfully established within two years. However, until that occurred, elevated concentrations of sludge-borne metals (Cu, Ni, Pb, Zn) were released to the underlying groundwater. In addition, the release of nitrate likely exacerbated metal concentrations by providing an oxidant for pyrite in the underlying tailings. The release was periodic due to the establishment of the grass, which immobilized metals and nitrate in the sludge. Metals bound asorgano-metallic complexes, due to dissolved organic carbon released from the sludge, migrated across the tailings impoundment. Model simulations indicate that the plume will take six years to exit the groundwater environment. Though the impacts are relatively short-term, this type of application should be reconsidered in the future.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 33, no 1, p. 66-78
National Category
Geochemistry
Research subject
Applied Geology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-5683DOI: 10.1007/s10230-013-0244-6Local ID: 3d97a28a-3c28-47b9-98b8-7f71e411c4cfOAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-5683DiVA: diva2:978557
Note

Validerad; 2014; 20130604 (petnas)

Available from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-29 Last updated: 2017-11-24Bibliographically approved

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