The U.S. Geological Survey and Idaho State University, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy, conducted a study to determine strontium distribution coefficients (K(d)s) of surficial sediments at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL). Batch experiments using synthesized aqueous solutions were used to determine K(d)s, which describe the distribution of a solute between the solution and solid phase, of 20 surficial-sediment samples from the INEEL. The K(d)s for the 20 surficial-sediment samples ranged from 36 to 275 ml/g. Many properties of both the synthesized aqueous solutions and sediments used in the experiments also were determined. Solution properties determined were initial and equilibrium concentrations of calcium, magnesium, and strontium, pH and specific conductance, and initial concentrations of potassium and sodium. Sediment properties determined were grain-size distribution, bulk mineralogy, whole-rock major-oxide and strontium and barium concentrations, and Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) surface area. Solution and sediment properties were correlated with strontium K(d)s of the 20 surficial sediments using Pearson correlation coefficients. Solution properties with the strongest correlations with strontium K(d)s were equilibrium pH and equilibrium calcium concentration correlation coefficients, 0.6598 and -0.6518, respectively. Sediment properties with the strongest correlations with strontium K(d)s were manganese oxide (MnO), BET surface area, and the >4.75-mm-grain-size fraction correlation coefficients, 0.7054, 0.7022, and -0.6660, respectively. Effects of solution properties on strontium K(d)s were interpreted as being due to competition among similarly charged and sized cations in solution for strontium-sorption sites; effects of sediment properties on strontium K(d)s were interpreted as being surface-area related. Multivariate analyses of these solution and sediment properties resulted in r2 values of 0.8071 when all five properties were used and 0.8043 when three properties, equilibrium pH, MnO, and BET surface area, were used.
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Chemical and physical properties affecting strontium distribution coefficients of surficial-sediment samples at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, Idaho