Article

Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 90, Issue 1, pp 195-204

First online:

Reactive solute transport in acidic streams

  • Robert E. BroshearsAffiliated withU.S. Geological Survey, MS 415, Denver Federal Center

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Abstract

Spatial and temporal profiles of pH and concentrations of toxic metals in streams affected by acid mine drainage are the result of the interplay of physical and biogeochemical processes. This paper describes a reactive solute transport model that provides a physically and thermodynamically quantitative interpretation of these profiles. The model combines a transport module that includes advection-dispersion and transient storage with a geochemical speciation module based on MINTEQA2. input to the model includes stream hydrologic properties derived from tracer-dilution experiments, headwater and lateral inflow concentrations analyzed in field samples, and a thermodynamic database. Simulations reproduced the general features of steady-state patterns of observed pli and concentrations of aluminum and sulfate in St. Kevin Gulch, an acid mine drainage stream near Leadville, Colorado. These patterns were altered temporarily by injection of sodium carbonate into the stream. A transient simulation reproduced the observed effects of the base injection.

Key words

Reactive solute transport modeling acid mine drainage geochernical modeling