Transport and fate of ammonium and its impact on uranium and other trace elements at a former uranium mill tailing site

Ziheng Miao, Hakan N. Akyol, Andrew L. McMillan, Mark L Brusseau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The remediation of ammonium-containing groundwater discharged from uranium mill tailing sites is a difficult problem facing the mining industry. The Monument Valley site is a former uranium mining site in the southwest US with both ammonium and nitrate contamination of groundwater. In this study, samples collected from 14 selected wells were analyzed for major cations and anions, trace elements, and isotopic composition of ammonium and nitrate. In addition, geochemical data from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) database were analyzed. Results showing oxic redox conditions and correspondence of isotopic compositions of ammonium and nitrate confirmed the natural attenuation of ammonium via nitrification. Moreover, it was observed that ammonium concentration within the plume area is closely related to concentrations of uranium and a series of other trace elements including chromium, selenium, vanadium, iron, and manganese. It is hypothesized that ammonium-nitrate transformation processes influence the disposition of the trace elements through mediation of redox potential, pH, and possibly aqueous complexation and solid-phase sorption. Despite the generally relatively low concentrations of trace elements present in groundwater, their transport and fate may be influenced by remediation of ammonium or nitrate at the site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-32
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Geochemistry
Volume38
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2013

Fingerprint

Uranium
Tailings
Trace Elements
Trace elements
Ammonium Compounds
tailings
Nitrates
uranium
mill
ammonium
trace element
Groundwater
Remediation
nitrate
Natural attenuation
Uranium mines
Vanadium
Nitrification
Mineral industry
Chromium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

Cite this

Transport and fate of ammonium and its impact on uranium and other trace elements at a former uranium mill tailing site. / Miao, Ziheng; Akyol, Hakan N.; McMillan, Andrew L.; Brusseau, Mark L.

In: Applied Geochemistry, Vol. 38, 11.2013, p. 24-32.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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