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Long-term evolution of highly alkaline steel slag drainage waters

Riley, Alex L.; Mayes, William M.

Authors

Alex L. Riley

Abstract

© 2015, Springer International Publishing Switzerland. The disposal of slag generated by the steel industry can have negative consequences upon the surrounding aquatic environment by the generation of high pH waters, leaching of potentially problematic trace metals, and rapid rates of calcite precipitation which smother benthic habitats. A 36-year dataset was collated from the long-term ambient monitoring of physicochemical parameters and elemental concentrations of samples from two steel slag leachate-affected watercourses in northern England. Waters were typified by elevated pH ( > 10), high alkalinity, and were rich in dissolved metals (e.g. calcium (Ca), aluminium (Al), and zinc (Zn)). Long-term trend analysis was performed upon pH, alkalinity, and Ca concentration which, in addition to Ca flux calculations, were used to highlight the longevity of pollution arising as a result of the dumping and subsequent leaching of steel slags. Declines in calcium and alkalinity have been modest over the monitoring period and not accompanied by significant declines in water pH. If the monotonic trends of decline in alkalinity and calcium continue in the largest of the receiving streams, it will be in the region of 50–80 years before calcite precipitation would be expected to be close to baseline levels, where ecological impacts would be negligible.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jul 29, 2015
Journal Environmental monitoring and assessment
Print ISSN 0167-6369
Electronic ISSN 1573-2959
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 187
Issue 7
Article Number ARTN 463
Institution Citation Riley, A. L., & Mayes, W. M. (2015). Long-term evolution of highly alkaline steel slag drainage waters. Environmental monitoring and assessment, 187(7), doi:10.1007/s10661-015-4693-1. ISSN 0167-6369
DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-015-4693-1
Keywords Slag; Hyperalkaline; Trend analysis; Calcite precipitation; Pollution
Publisher URL http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10661-015-4693-1
Copyright Statement ©2015 The authors. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Additional Information Copy of article first published in: Environmental monitoring and assessment, 2015, v.187, issue 7. The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10661-015-4693-1

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Copyright Statement
©2015 The authors. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



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