Establishing the environmental risk of metal contaminated river bank sediments

Lynch, Sarah Francesca Lynn (2015). Establishing the environmental risk of metal contaminated river bank sediments. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Climate change predictions indicate an increase in the frequency and duration of flood events along with longer dry antecedent conditions , which could alter patterns of trace metal release from contaminated river bank sediments. This study took a laboratory mesocosm approach. Chemical analysis of water and sediment samples allowed the patterns of Pb and Zn release and key mechanisms controlling Pb and Zn mobility to be determined.
Trace metal contaminants Pb and Zn were released throughout flooded periods, however the highest concentrations of dissolved Pb were observed at the end of the longest flood period and high concentrations of dissolved Zn were released at the start of a flood. These concentrations were found to exceeded environmental quality standards. Key mechanisms controlling mobility were (i) anglesite solubility control of dissolved Pb, (iii) evaporation, precipitation and dissolution of Zn sulphate salts, (iii) oxidation of galena and sphalerite, (iv) reductive dissolution Mn/ Fe hydroxides and co precipitation/adsorption with Zn.
In light of climate change predictions these results indicate future scenarios may include larger or more frequent transient 'pulses' of dissolved Pb and Zn released to river systems. These short lived pollution episodes could act as a significant barrier to achieving the EU Water Framework Directive objectives.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Department of Geography
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QE Geology


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