, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 99-116
Date: 16 Feb 2008

Determination of Free Nickel Ion Concentrations Using the Ion Exchange Technique: Application to Aqueous Mining and Municipal Effluents

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Free metal ion concentration is generally considered a useful indicator of a metal’s bioavailability and ecotoxicity to aquatic biota. This article reports the speciation of nickel in mining and municipal effluents from Sudbury (Ontario, Canada), and also in model solutions containing a fully characterized laurentian fulvic acid (LFA) at environmentally relevant concentrations. A column ion exchange technique (IET) using a cation exchange resin (Dowex 50W-X8) was applied to determine free nickel ion concentrations. In model solutions, reasonable correlation was found between the predictions of an equilibrium-based computer speciation code, Windermere Humic Aqueous Model (WHAM) VI, and the results obtained by IET at low nickel-to-fulvic acid ratios. However at higher mole ratios, the WHAM VI predicted higher free nickel ion concentrations than IET. Only three out of six effluent samples showed reasonable agreement between the IET and the WHAM VI results, indicating the need for further development of IET for application to effluent waters.