The principal geochemical process within a plume of leachate-contaminated ground water downgradient from the municipal landfill in the Town of Brookhaven is the oxidation of organic matter. Concurrent reducing processes are the reduction of iron and manganese oxyhydroxides to soluble ferrous and manganous forms, of nitrate and nitrite to nitrogen and ammonia, of sulfate to sulfide (sulfide precipitates from solution as iron and manganese sulfides), and, under extreme conditions, of some organic matter to methane. Secondary processes unrelated to bacterial activity and redox processes are the exchange of dissolved sodium and potassium for calcium and magnesium at ion-exchange sites and the dissolution of calcium and magnesium silicate minerals; these processes cause sodium and potassium concentrations to decrease with depth and with distance from the landfill and cause calcium, magnesium, and silica concentrations to increase.
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USGS Numbered Series
Ground-water quality and geochemical processes at a municipal landfill, Town of Brookhaven, Long Island, New York