Article

Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 357-376

First online:

Geochemical Characterization of Acid Mine Lakes in Northwest Turkey and Their Effect on the Environment

  • Deniz Sanliyuksel YucelAffiliated withDepartment of Geology Engineering, Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University
  • , Alper BabaAffiliated withDepartment of Civil Engineering, Izmir Institute of Technology Email author 

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Abstract

Mining activity generates a large quantity of mine waste. The potential hazard of mine waste depends on the host mineral. The tendency of mine waste to produce acid mine drainage (AMD) containing potentially toxic metals depends on the amounts of sulfide, carbonate minerals, and trace-element concentrations found in ore deposits. The acid mine process is one of the most significant environmental challenges and a major source of water pollution worldwide. AMD and its effects were studied in northwest Turkey where there are several sedimentary and hydrothermal mineral deposits that have been economically extracted. The study area is located in Can county of Canakkale province. Canakkale contains marine, lagoon, and lake sediments precipitated with volcanoclastics that occurred as a result of volcanism, which was active during various periods from the Upper Eocene to Plio-Quaternary. Can county is rich in coal with a total lignite reserve >100 million tons and contains numerous mines that were operated by private companies and later abandoned without any remediation. As a result, human intervention in the natural structure and topography has resulted in large open pits and deterioration in these areas. Abandoned open pit mines typically fill with water from runoff and groundwater discharge, producing artificial lakes. Acid drainage waters from these mines have resulted in the degradation of surface-water quality around Can County. The average pH and electrical conductivity of acid mine lakes (AMLs) in this study were found to be 3.03 and 3831.33 μS cm−1, respectively. Total iron (Fe) and aluminum (Al) levels were also found to be high (329.77 and 360.67 mg L−1, respectively). The results show that the concentration of most elements, such as Fe and Al in particular, exceed national and international water-quality standards.