Adsorption, complexation, and dissolution reactions strongly influenced the transport of metal ions complexed with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) in a predominantly quartz-sand aquifer during two tracer tests conducted under mildly reducing conditions at pH 5.8 to 6.1. In tracer test M89, EDTA complexes of zinc (Zn) and nickel (Ni), along with excess free EDTA, were injected such that the lower portion of the tracer cloud traveled through a region with adsorbed manganese (Mn) and the upper portion of the tracer cloud traveled through a region with adsorbed Zn. In tracer test S89, Ni- and Zn-EDTA complexes, along with excess EDTA complexed with calcium (Ca), were injected into a region with adsorbed Mn. The only discernable chemical reaction between Ni-EDTA and the sediments was a small degree of reversible adsorption leading to minor retardation. In the absence of adsorbed Zn, the injected Zn was displaced from EDTA complexes by iron(III) [Fe(III)] dissolved from the sediments. Displacement of Zn by Fe(III) on EDTA became increasingly thermodynamically favorable with decreasing total EDTA concentration. The reaction was slow compared to the time-scale of transport. Free EDTA rapidly dissolved aluminum (Al) from the sediments, which was subsequently displaced slowly by Fe. In the portion of tracer cloud M89 that traveled through the region contaminated with adsorbed Zn, little displacement of Zn complexed with EDTA was observed, and Al was rapidly displaced from EDTA by Zn desorbed from the sediments, in agreement with equilibrium calculations. In tracer test S89, desorption of Mn dominated over the more thermodynamically favorable dissolution of Al oxyhydroxides. Comparison with results from M89 suggests that dissolution of Al oxyhydroxides in coatings on these sediment grains by Ca-EDTA was rate-limited whereas that by free EDTA reached equilibrium on the time-scale of transport. Rates of desorption are much faster than rates of dissolution of Fe oxyhydroxides from sediment-grain surfaces and, therefore, adsorbed metal ions can strongly influence the speciation of ligands like EDTA in soils and sediments, especially over small temporal and spatial scales. Copyright ?? 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd.
Additional publication details
Effect of adsorbed metals ions on the transport of Zn- and Ni-EDTA complexes in a sand and gravel aquifer