Dispersal and attenuation of trace contaminants downstream of the ajka bauxite residue (Red Mud) depository failure, Hungary

William M. Mayes, Adam P. Jarvis, Ian T. Burke, Melanie Walton, Viktória Feigl, Orsolya Klebercz, K. Gruiz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

This paper identifies the spatial extent of bauxite processing residue (red mud)-derived contaminants and modes of transport within the Marcal and Rába river systems after the dike failure at Ajka, western Hungary. The geochemical signature of the red mud is apparent throughout the 3076 km 2 Marcal system principally with elevated Al, V, As, and Mo. Elevated concentrations of Cr, Ga, and Ni are also observed within 2 km of the source areas in aqueous and particulate phases where hyperalkalinity (pH <13.1) is apparent. Although the concentrations of some trace elements exceed aquatic life standards in waters (e.g., V, As) and fluvial sediments (As, Cr, Ni, V), the spatial extent of these is limited to the Torna Creek and part of the upper Marcal. Source samples show a bimodal particle size distribution (peaks at 0.7 and 1.3 μm) which lends the material to ready fluvial transport. Where elevated concentrations are found in fluvial sediments, sequential extraction suggests the bulk of the As, Cr, Ni, and V are associated with residual (aqua-regia/HF digest) phases and unlikely to be mobile in the environment. However, at some depositional hotspots, association of As, Cr, and V with weak acid-extractable phases is observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5147-5155
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume45
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 15 2011

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Aluminum Oxide
bauxite
alluvial deposit
Sediments
mud
Impurities
Levees
pollutant
Trace Elements
Particle size analysis
river system
dike
hot spot
Rivers
particle size
trace element
Acids
Water
acid
Processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this

Dispersal and attenuation of trace contaminants downstream of the ajka bauxite residue (Red Mud) depository failure, Hungary. / Mayes, William M.; Jarvis, Adam P.; Burke, Ian T.; Walton, Melanie; Feigl, Viktória; Klebercz, Orsolya; Gruiz, K.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 45, No. 12, 15.06.2011, p. 5147-5155.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mayes, William M. ; Jarvis, Adam P. ; Burke, Ian T. ; Walton, Melanie ; Feigl, Viktória ; Klebercz, Orsolya ; Gruiz, K. / Dispersal and attenuation of trace contaminants downstream of the ajka bauxite residue (Red Mud) depository failure, Hungary. In: Environmental Science and Technology. 2011 ; Vol. 45, No. 12. pp. 5147-5155.
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