Dramatic seasonal changes in water chemistry and precipitate mineralogy associated with acid-mine drainage (AMD) in the waterfall and creek sections of the Chinkuashih area, northern Taiwan were investigated. Special attention has been paid to the kinetic effects of seasonal temperature variation and waterfall aeration. Precipitation of schwertmannite associated with removal of metals and As are indicated by delicate growth microstructures on precipitate surfaces, X-ray diffraction data, and downstream reductions of metal and As concentrations. Geochemical modeling suggested a downstream increase of the degree of saturation/supersaturation with respect to schwertmannite in the waterfall section, which can be attributed to high Fe 2+ oxidation rates. The waterfall section was characterized by high rates and model rate constants of Fe 2+ oxidation (6.1-6.7×10 -6molL -1s -1 and 2.7-2.9×10 -2s -1) and Fe (schwertmannite) precipitation (1.7-2.1×10 -6molL -1s -1 and 3.5-4.1×10 -7molL -1s -1). A high As sorption rate (4.7-6.3×10 -9molL -1s -1) and low As distribution coefficient (7.9-11.8×10 -9mol -1L) were observed. The creek section showed up to 1-2 orders of magnitude slower rates and lower rate constants than the waterfall section and had seasonal variations comparable to those in areas polluted by AMD elsewhere. The summer rates were 4-5 times higher than the winter rates in the creek section, and are largely attributed to a temperature effect. In contrast, the seasonal differences in rate and rate constant were small in the waterfall section. Several factors associated with the waterfall aeration in addition to elevated temperature and As concentration enhanced Fe and As attenuation in the waterfall section. The waterfall effects on Fe precipitation rate were enhanced when the flow rate was large in the winter. Despite the remarkable removal of metals and As by the rapid precipitation of As-bearing schwertmannite, large effluent loads of potentially hazardous contaminants including As, Cu and Zn discharged to the sea in the Chinkuashih area.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Geochemistry and Petrology