University of Oulu

Khan, U. A., Kujala, K., Planer-Friedrich, B., Räisänen, M. L., & Ronkanen, A.-K. (2020). Long-term data reveals the importance of hydraulic load and inflow water quality for Sb removal in boreal treatment peatlands. Ecological Engineering, 148, 105785.

Long-term data reveals the importance of hydraulic load and inflow water quality for Sb removal in boreal treatment peatlands

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Author: Khan, Uzair Akbar1; Kujala, Katharina1; Planer-Friedrich, Britta2;
Organizations: 1Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 4300, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
2Environmental Geochemistry, Bayreuth Center for Ecology and Environmental Research (BayCEER), University of Bayreuth, Universitätsstrasse 30, Bayreuth 95440, Germany
3Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), Neulaniementie, P.O.Box 1237, FI-70211, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2020
Publish Date: 2022-04-01


Antimony (Sb) is a common contaminant in natural peatlands used as treatment wetlands for water influenced by metal mining in cold-climate regions. However, while other metalloids such as arsenic have been well studied, little is known about removal and retention of Sb in northern wetlands under challenging environmental conditions. In this study we assessed short-term, long-term and seasonal variations in mobility, removal, and retention of Sb from mining-influenced water in two peat based natural wetlands with different loading and physical conditions. Analyses based on 10 years of water quality data and data on contaminant accumulation in the peat soil revealed that the wetland with significantly lower hydraulic load and Sb areal load achieved adequate Sb removal, but with a slight decline in recent years. Antimony concentrations at the wetland outlet were slightly lower in summers than in winters. Dilution due to high rainfall during summer may be the likely reason for low outlet concentrations towards the end of summer. Outlet Sb concentrations were on the rise after inlet water quality was significantly improved through enhanced pre-treatment indicating mobilization of accumulated Sb. In comparison, the smaller wetland with higher hydraulic and Sb loading had very low Sb removal and a stronger decrease in Sb concentration through dilution due to snowmelt. The results highlight the challenges in Sb retention which should get more attention when treatment wetlands are designed for Sb rich waters such as mine waters and there are changes in water treatment arrangement in specific cases.

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Series: Ecological engineering
ISSN: 0925-8574
ISSN-E: 1872-6992
ISSN-L: 0925-8574
Volume: 148
Article number: 105785
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2020.105785
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 218 Environmental engineering
Funding: The work was mainly supported by a research grant from Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation. Additional funding was provided by the Academy of Finland (project 287397- Microbial transformations of arsenic and antimony in Northern natural peatlands treating mine waste waters),Maa- ja Vesitekniikan Tuki r.y., and K.H. Renlund Foundation.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 287397
Detailed Information: 287397 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Dataset Reference: Appendix A. Supplementary data
Copyright information: © 2020. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http:/