Leaching of copper and nickel in soil-water systems contaminated by bauxite residue (red mud) from Ajka, Hungary: the importance of soil organic matter

LOCKWOOD, C.L., STEWART, D.I., MORTIMER, R.J.G., MAYES, W.M., JARVIS, A.P., GRUIZ, K. and BURKE, I.T., 2015. Leaching of copper and nickel in soil-water systems contaminated by bauxite residue (red mud) from Ajka, Hungary: the importance of soil organic matter. Environmental Science and Pollution Research. ISSN 0944-1344

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Abstract

Red mud is a highly alkaline (pH >12) waste product from bauxite ore processing. The red mud spill at Ajka, Hungary, in 2010 released 1 million m3 of caustic red mud into the surrounding area with devastating results. Aerobic and anaerobic batch experiments and solid phase extraction techniques were used to assess the impact of red mud addition on the mobility of Cu and Ni in soils from near the Ajka spill site. Red mud addition increases aqueous dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations due to soil alkalisation, and this led to increased mobility of Cu and Ni complexed to organic matter. With Ajka soils, more Cu was mobilised by contact with red mud than Ni, despite a higher overall Ni concentration in the solid phase. This is most probably because Cu has a higher affinity to form complexes with organic matter than Ni. In aerobic experiments, contact with the atmosphere reduced soil pH via carbonation reactions, and this reduced organic matter dissolution and thereby lowered Cu/Ni mobility. These data show that the mixing of red mud into organic rich soils is an area of concern, as there is a potential to mobilise Cu and Ni as organically bound complexes, via soil alkalisation. This could be especially problematic in locations where anaerobic conditions can prevail, such as wetland areas contaminated by the spill.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Environmental Science and Pollution Research
Creators: Lockwood, C.L., Stewart, D.I., Mortimer, R.J.G., Mayes, W.M., Jarvis, A.P., Gruiz, K. and Burke, I.T.
Publisher: Springer
Place of Publication: Heidelberg, Germany
Date: 2015
ISSN: 0944-1344
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1007/s11356-015-4282-4DOI
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 10:44
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 13:37
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/17350

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