Distance impacts toxic metals pollution in mining affected river sediments

Chin, Yik Lin and Bibi Noorarlijannah Mohammad Ali and Rohana Tair and Baba Musta and Mohd Harun Abdullah and Fera @ Nony Cleophas and Feona Isidore and Mohd Shahrul Mohd Nadzir and Muhammad Hatta Roselee and Ismail Yusoff (2022) Distance impacts toxic metals pollution in mining affected river sediments. Environmental Research, 214. pp. 1-11. ISSN 0013-9351

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The study of metals mobility derived from mining activities in an ultramafic lithology is limited. This study investigates the effects of distance on potentially toxic metals such as Co, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn pollution, and the geochemical processes of fluvial system downstream of an ex-copper mine (Mamut River). The toxicity level of the river was evaluated using various sediment quality guidelines, ecotoxicological risks (ecological risk and risk index) and pollution indices. The geochemical behavior and stability of these toxic metals in the solid-phase samples were also examined. The results show that elevated concentrations of Ni, Cu, and Fe in the sediments can be linked to the adsorption and precipitation of metals from the aqueous-phase samples. We found that the metal scavenging rate as a function of distance is more evident in tropical environments than it was previously thought (10 km downstream). Such an inference could be explained by the greater amount of rainfall (pH 5.5–6.5) received in the tropics and higher weathering products that could react and form stable complexes. Geochemical analysis of the river sediment indicates that Ni, Cu, and Fe in the river sediment have increased 44-, 81-, and 90-fold compared to the background values, respectively. A significant decrease in the concentration of the potentially toxic metals was found at 5.5 km downstream. The scavenging rate of Fe is the highest (1485.82 μg g−1 km−1) followed by Cu (141.48 μg g−1 km−1), Ni (10.23 μg g−1 km−1), Pb (8.12 μg g−1 km−1) and Zn (5.01 μg g−1 km−1) in the tropical river system. In contrast, the concentration of Co and Mn in the river sediments doubled as the river flows approximately 5 km downstream due to the higher mineral solubility and weaker metal partition coefficient. This study also discusses the possibility of asbestos (mainly as chrysotile in the X-ray diffraction) as a potential hidden risk present within the ultramafic setting. This case study can be extrapolated to explain the dispersion of inorganic pollutants in an ultramafic environment in a global context.

Item Type: Article
Keyword: River pollution , Mining , Potentially toxic metal , Geochemistry , Sediment quality , Enrichment factor
Subjects: T Technology > TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering > TD1-1066 Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering > TD201-500 Water supply for domestic and industrial purposes > TD419-428 Water pollution
Department: FACULTY > Faculty of Science and Natural Resources
Depositing User: SAFRUDIN BIN DARUN -
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2022 08:27
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2022 08:27
URI: https://eprints.ums.edu.my/id/eprint/33956

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