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Hydrobiologia

, Volume 506, Issue 1–3, pp 111–119 | Cite as

Effects of mining industry waste waters on a shallow lake ecosystem in Karelia, north-west Russia

  • Ismo J. Holopainen
  • Anna-Liisa Holopainen
  • Heikki Hämäläinen
  • Minna Rahkola-Sorsa
  • Victoria Tkatcheva
  • Markku Viljanen
Article

Abstract

The mining company Karelian Pellet in NW Russia extracts iron ore and processes it locally into iron pellets. The production operations have effects on the environment in the form of air pollution (SO2 and dust) and waste water emissions. The waste waters from the process and the mining pits are let out into a dammed basin, formerly the natural Lake Kostomuksha. This basin flows north-east through several small lakes (e.g., Poppalijärvi, Kento) to the larger lake Middle Kuito and the White Sea. For these small lakes an exceptionally high mineral content, high pH value, and high concentrations of potassium, lithium and nitrogen in the water have been characteristic. However, the total phosphorus content (6–9 μg l−1) is slightly lower than in the Lake Upper Kuito (11–13 μg l−1) which acts as a reference lake. Biota from bacteria to fish were quantitatively sampled in August 2000 and 2001. Our results suggest a twice higher biomass of both phytoplankton (mainly picoalgae) and fish (biomass per unit effort) in the lakes downstream from the mine in comparison to the reference lake. Zooplankton and zoobenthos biomass both peak in L. Kento, the lake in the middle of the outflow series. The fish fauna (seven to eight species caught) is the same in all lakes and is dominated by perch and roach. Both grow well and roach show best growth in L. Poppalijärvi, next to the waste basin. Perch gills show some histopathological changes which do not, however, appear to affect either growth or reproduction.

fish gill histology mining waste waters NW Russia plankton small lakes zoobenthos 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ismo J. Holopainen
    • 1
  • Anna-Liisa Holopainen
    • 2
    • 3
  • Heikki Hämäläinen
    • 3
  • Minna Rahkola-Sorsa
    • 4
  • Victoria Tkatcheva
    • 1
  • Markku Viljanen
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of JoensuuJoensuuFinland
  2. 2.Karelian InstituteUniversity of JoensuuJoensuuFinland
  3. 3.North Karelia Regional Environment CentreJoensuuFinland
  4. 4.Karelian InstituteUniversity of JoensuuJoensuuFinland

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