Geochemical Processes Controlling the Formation of As‐Rich Waters Within a Tailings Impoundment (Carnoulès, France)
Source: Aquatic Geochemistry, Volume 9, Number 4, December 2003 , pp. 273-290(18)
Abstract:The distribution of arsenic (As(III), As(V)) and iron (Fe(II), Fe(III)) species was monitored during 1 year in a borehole drilled in the Carnoulès tailings impoundment which contains As‐rich pyrite. The concentrations of total As and Fe in subsurface waters exhibited strong variations over one year, which were controlled by dissolved oxygen concentrations. At high oxygen levels, extremely high As (up to 162 mM) and Fe (up to 364 mM) concentrations were reached in the borehole, with the oxidised species predominant. As and Fe concentrations decreased 10‐fold under oxygen‐deficient conditions, as a result of pH increase and subsequent precipitation of As(V) and Fe(III). From drill core sections, it appeared that at low dissolved oxygen levels, As(III) was primarily released into water by the oxidation of As‐rich pyrite in the unsaturated zone. Subsequent As and Fe precipitation was promoted during transport to the saturated zone; this reaction resulted in As enrichments in the sediment below the water table compared to the original content in pyrite, together with the formation of As‐rich (up to 35 wt% As) ferruginous material in the unsaturated zone. High amounts of As(V) were released from these secondary phases during leaching experiments with oxygenated acid sulfate‐rich waters; this process is believed to contribute to As(V) enrichment in the subsurface waters of the Carnoulès tailings during periods of high dissolved oxygen level.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Laboratoire Hydrosciences Montpellier, UMR 5569, Université Montpellier 2, Place E. Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier cedex 05, France; : firstname.lastname@example.org, Email: email@example.com‐montp2.fr 2: Laboratoire Hydrosciences Montpellier, UMR 5569, Université Montpellier 2, Place E. Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier cedex 05, France
Publication date: December 1, 2003