Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 195, Issue 1–4, pp 35–50 | Cite as

Hydrogeochemistry of Alkaline Steel Slag Leachates in the UK

Article

Abstract

Drainage from steel slag disposal sites can be extremely alkaline and a source of pollution to surface and ground waters. Data is presented detailing the hydrogeochemistry of seven highly alkaline (pH > 10) steel slag surface discharges in the UK. While there is the consistent presence of Ca–OH type groundwater in all the discharges, there are clear disparities in hydrochemical facies within and between sites, reflecting native hydrochemistry, source material and hydrogeological setting. The longevity of the pollution problem from steel slag disposal sites is highlighted at one site where the water quality records date back three decades. The consistent presence of Al, B, Ba, Fe, Sr, V and occasional presence of Cr, Mo, Ni, Pb were found at concentrations typically below surface water quality standards in the leachates. Some of the monitored metals (Al, Fe, Ni, V) were found to be lost from solution downstream of emergence in calcite-dominated precipitates which rapidly form at all sites at rates up to 100 g m−2 day−1. The low concentrations of potentially problematic trace elements in both solution and the sediments are discussed with regard development of economically viable passive treatment wetlands for highly alkaline industrial discharges.

Keywords

Steel slag Leachate Alkaline Remediation Wetland 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was funded by ENTRUST through Corus Group and the Mineral Industry Research Organisation (MIRO) under project RC 174 and the Natural Environment Research Council under project NE/F014465/1. Sarah Smith at Corus Group is thanked for funding the work at Coatham Marsh. Lisa Smith (Corus Group Scunthorpe) is thanked for assistance with sampling. The assistance of Jane Davis and Patrick Orme are in undertaking some of the laboratory analyses is gratefully acknowledged while Kath Liddell is thanked for performing XRD analyses. The authors are indebted to Diane Steele and Mark Merrix at the Environment Agency (Northumbria) for providing archival data for the Consett discharges. The comments of two anonymous reviewers are also greatly appreciated in improving the final version of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

11270_2008_9725_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (350 kb)
Supporting Information (PDF 358 kb)

References

  1. APHA (1998) Standard Methods for the Analysis of Water and Wastewater, 20th ed. American Water Works Association and the Water Environment Federation, Washington DC.Google Scholar
  2. Apul, D. S., Gardner, K. H., Eighmy, T. T., Fällman, A. -M., & Comans, R. N. J. (2005). Simultaneous application of dissolution/precipitation and surface complexation/surface precipitation modelling to contaminant leaching. Environmental Science and Technology, 39, 5736–5741.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bayless, E. R., & Schulz, M. S. (2003). Mineral precipitation and dissolution at two slag-disposal sites in northwestern Indiana, USA. Environmental Geology, 45, 252–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. BSI (1995). British standard 7755-3.9:1995: Soil quality—part 3 chemical methods—section 3.9 extraction of trace elements soluble in aqua regia. London: British Standards Institution.Google Scholar
  5. Bothe, J. V., & Brown, P. W. (1999). The stabilities of calcium arsenates at 23±1°C. Journal of Hazardous Materials, B69, 197–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chaurand, P., Rose, J., Briois, V., Olivi, L., Hazemann, J.-L., Proux, O., et al. (2007). Environmental impacts of steel slag reused in road construction: A crystallographic and molecular (XANES) approach. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 139, 537–542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chaurand, P., Rose, J., Domas, J., & Bottero, J.-Y. (2006). Speciation of Cr and V within BOF steel slag reused in road constructions. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 88, 10–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Donahoe, R. J. (2004). Secondary mineral formation in coal combustion byproduct disposal facilities: implications for trace metal sequestration. In R. Gieré & P. Stille (Eds.), Energy, waste and the environment: A geochemical perspective (pp. 641–658). London: Geological Society (Special Publication 236).Google Scholar
  9. Environment Agency (2004). Assessment of sediment contaminants in estuaries. Report for habitats directive technical advisory group on water quality by the sediment subgroup. environment agency of England and Wales. Report number WQTAG078K.Google Scholar
  10. Fällman, A. -M. (2000). Leaching of chromium and barium from steel slag in laboratory and field tests—a solubility controlled process? Waste Management, 20, 149–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ford, D. C., & Williams, P. W. (2007). Karst geomorphology and hydrology. London: Unwin Hyman.Google Scholar
  12. Griffiths, D. (2003). Blastfurnace slag and the environment: The view of a modern regulator, in Proceedings of euroslag: Manufacturing and processing of iron and steel slags: the 3rd European slag conference, October 2002, Nottingham, UK. pp 119–122.Google Scholar
  13. Harber, A. J., & Forth, R. A. (2001). The contamination of former iron and steel works sites. Environmental Geology, 40, 324–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hoover, K. L., & Rightnour, T. A. (2002). Design approaches for passive treatment of coal combustion by-product leachate—project experience within the utility industry. In M. M. Maroto-Valer, C. Song, & Y. Soong (Eds.), Environmental challenges and greenhouse gas control for fossil fuel utilization in the 21st century (pp. 417–429). New York: Kluwer Academic.Google Scholar
  15. ICDD database (1999). International center for diffraction Data. Pa, USA.Google Scholar
  16. Iwashita, A., Sakaguchi, Y., Nakajima, T., Takanashi, H., Ohki, A., & Kambara, S. (2005). Leaching characteristics of boron and selenium for various coal fly ashes. Fuel, 84, 479–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Koryak, M., Stafford, L. J., Reilly, R. J., & Magnuson, M. P. (2002). Impacts of steel mill slag leachate on the water quality of a small Pennsylvania stream. Journal of Freshwater Ecology, 17, 461–465.Google Scholar
  18. Mayes, W. M., Gozzard, E., Potter, H. A. B., & Jarvis, A. P. (2008). Quantifying the importance of diffuse minewater pollution in a historically heavily coal mined catchment. Environmental Pollution, 151, 165–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mayes, W. M., Large, A. R. G., & Younger, P. L. (2005). The impact of pumped groundwater from a de-watered Magnesian limestone quarry on an adjacent wetland: Thrislington, County Durham, UK. Environmental Pollution, 138, 444–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mayes, W. M., Younger, P. L., & Aumônier, J. (2006). Buffering of alkaline steel slag across a natural wetland. Environmental Science and Technology, 40, 1237–1243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mondadori, M. (1977). The macdonald encyclopaedia of rocks and minerals. London: Macdonald.Google Scholar
  22. Ochola, C. E., & Moo-Young, H. K. (2004). Establishing and elucidating reduction as the removal mechanism of Cr(VI) by reclaimed limestone residual RLR (modified steel slag). Environmental Science and Technology, 38, 6161–6165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Parkhurst, D. L., & Appelo, C. A. J. (1999). User’s guide to PHREEQC—A computer program for speciation, batch-reaction, one-dimensional transport, and inverse geochemical calculations. U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 99–4259.Google Scholar
  24. PIRAMID Consortium (2003) Engineering guidelines for the passive remediation of acidic and/ or metalliferous mine drainage and similar wastewaters. European Commission 5th Framework RTD Project no. EVK1-CT-1999-000021 “Passive in-situ remediation of acidic mine/industrial drainage” (PIRAMID). University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.Google Scholar
  25. Roadcap, G. S., Kelly, W. R., & Bethke, C. M. (2005). Geochemistry of extremely alkaline (pH>12) ground water in slag-fill aquifer. Ground Water, 43, 806–816.Google Scholar
  26. Salminen, R (ed.). Geochemical atlas of Europe, Part 1: Background information, methodology, maps. Forum Of European Geological Surveys (FOREGS). Electronic version. http://www.gtk.fi/publ/foregsatlas/index.php. 2003.
  27. Suzuki, T., & Ohtsu, M. (2004). Quantitative damage evaluation of structural concrete by a compression test based on AE rate process analysis. Construction and Building Materials, 18, 197–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Westerlund, C., Viklander, M., & Bäckström, M. (2003). Seasonal variations in road runoff quality in Luleå, Sweden. Water Science and Technology, 48, 93–101.Google Scholar
  29. Younger, P. L. (1995). Hydrogeology. In G. A. L Johnson (Ed.), Robson’s geology of North East England (pp. 353–362). Newcastle: Natural History Society of Northumbria.Google Scholar
  30. Younger, P. L., Banwart, S. A., & Hedin, R. S. (2002). Mine water: Hydrology, pollution, remediation. The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic.Google Scholar
  31. Zachara, J. M., Cowan, C. E., & Resch, C. T. (1991). Sorption of divalent metals on calcite. Geochimicha Cosmochimica Acta, 55, 1549–1562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hydrogeochemical Engineering Research and Outreach group, Sir Joseph Swan Institute for Energy ResearchNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.Mineral Industry Research Organisation (MIRO)Solihull, BirminghamUK

Personalised recommendations