University of Oulu

Uzair Akbar Khan, Katharina Kujala, Soile P. Nieminen, Marja Liisa Räisänen, Anna-Kaisa Ronkanen, Arsenic, antimony, and nickel leaching from northern peatlands treating mining influenced water in cold climate, Science of The Total Environment, Volume 657, 2019, Pages 1161-1172, ISSN 0048-9697,

Arsenic, antimony, and nickel leaching from northern peatlands treating mining influenced water in cold climate

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Author: Khan, Uzair Akbar1; Kujala, Katharina1; Nieminen, Soile P.2;
Organizations: 1Water Resources and Environmental Engineering Research Unit, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 4300, FI-90014, Oulu, Finland
2Center for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Kainuu (Kainuu ELY Centre), P.O. Box 2000 (North Savo ELY Centre), Kallanranta 11, FI-70101 Kuopio, Finland
3Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), Neulaniementie 5, P.O. Box 1237, FI-70211, Kuopio, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 3.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-11-30


Increased metal mining in the Arctic region has caused elevated loads of arsenic (As), antimony (Sb), nickel (Ni), and sulfate (SO42−) to recipient surface or groundwater systems. The need for cost-effective active and passive mine water treatment methods has also increased. Natural peatlands are commonly used as a final step for treatment of mining influenced water. However, their permanent retention of harmful substances is affected by influent concentrations and environmental conditions. The effects of dilution, pH, temperature, oxygen availability, and contaminant accumulation on retention and leaching of As, Sb, Ni, and sulfate from mine process water and drainage water obtained from treatment peatlands in Finnish Lapland were studied in batch sorption experiments, and discussed in context of field data and environmental impacts. The results, while demonstrating effectiveness of peat to remove the target contaminants from mine water, revealed the risk of leaching of As, Sb, and SO42− from treatment peatlands when diluted mine water was introduced. Sb was more readily leached compared to As while leaching of both was supported by higher pH of 9. No straightforward effect of temperature and oxygen availability in controlling removal and leaching was evident from the results. The results also showed that contaminant accumulation in treatment peatlands after long-term use can lead to decreased removal and escalated leaching of contaminants, with the effect being more pronounced for As and Ni.

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Series: Science of the total environment
ISSN: 0048-9697
ISSN-E: 1879-1026
ISSN-L: 0048-9697
Volume: 657
Pages: 1161 - 1172
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.11.455
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 218 Environmental engineering
215 Chemical engineering
Funding: Funding: The work was supported by Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation, Finland, K.H. Renlund Foundation, Finland, and Maa- ja Vesitekniikan Tuki r.y., Finland.
Copyright information: © 2018. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license