Transport and natural attenuation of Cu, Zn, As, and Fe in the acid mine drainage of Leviathan and Bryant Creeks

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Abstract

The Leviathan and Bryant Creek (LBC) drainage system, on the border of California and Nevada, flows through overburden and waste from a former open-pit sulfur mine. The drainage contains acid mine waters with high concentrations of several trace elements, including Cu, Zn, and As, derived from oxidative weathering of sulfides in the wastes and altered bedrock. In June and October, 1982, the mainstream and tributary flows of the LBC drainage were measured and the waters sampled and analyzed for major and trace elements. Empirical mass flow and metal attenuation rates were determined, and chemical models were used to examine mechanisms of trace element removal during downstream transport. In June the flow in the mainstream was 2-5 times greater than in October, and with higher contributions from the acid mine effluent. Seasonal variations in the attenuation rates of Cu, Zn, and As were directly related to this increase in acid mine-effluent production, and to the consequent increase in the acidity of the mainstream drainage. Although As concentrations immediately below the mine site were high in June, As was readily removed from solution by adsorption onto an assumed iron(III) oxyhydroxysulfate precipitate, whereas Cu was incompletely adsorbed and Zn remained unaffected by adsorption. In October, the smaller discharge of acidic LBC drainage waters were more readily diluted (and neutralized) by other regional tributaries. Arsenic concentrations remained low, and both Cu and Zn were removed from solution by adsorption onto iron(III) oxyhydroxysulfate in the lower regions of the LBC drainage system.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Transport and natural attenuation of Cu, Zn, As, and Fe in the acid mine drainage of Leviathan and Bryant Creeks
ISBN 9780841227729
DOI 10.1021/bk-1994-0550.ch017
Volume 550
Year Published 1993
Language English
Publisher American Chemical Society
Contributing office(s) California Water Science Center
Description 17 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title Environmental geochemistry of sulfide oxidation
First page 244
Last page 260
Country United States
State California, Nevada
Other Geospatial Leviathan Creek, Bryant Creek