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Modeling the Fate of Metal Concentrates in Surface Water

Carbonaro, Richard F., Farley, Kevin J., Delbeke, Katrien, Baken, Stijn, Arbildua, Jose J., Rodriguez, Patricio H., Rader, Kevin J.
Environmental toxicology and chemistry 2019 v.38 no.6 pp. 1256-1272
bioavailability, cobalt, copper, dissolved organic carbon, environmental hazards, lakes, lead, ligands, metal ions, models, particulate organic carbon, sediments, sorption, surface water, toxicity
Metals present in concentrates are in a solid form and are not bioavailable, but they can dissolve or potentially transform to more soluble forms. Transformation/dissolution laboratory protocols have been developed to assess the importance of dissolution of sparingly soluble metal substances in the context of hazard classification; however, these tests represent worst‐case scenarios for metal bioavailability because attenuation mechanisms such as complexation, sorption, and transport to the sediment are not considered. A unit world model (UWM) for metals in lakes, tableau input coupled kinetics equilibrium transport (TICKET)‐UWM, has been developed that considers key processes affecting metal transport, fate, and toxicity including complexation by aqueous inorganic and ligands, partitioning to dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and particulate organic carbon (POC), precipitation, and transport of dissolved metals and solids between the water column and sediment. The TICKET‐UWM model was used to assess the fate of a metal concentrate and dissolved metal ions released from the concentrate following an instantaneous input to a generalized lake. Concentrate dissolution rates in the water column were parameterized using results from batch transformation/dissolution tests for 2 specific concentrates containing lead (Pb), copper (Cu), and cobalt (Co). The TICKET‐UWM results for a generalized lake environment showed that water column concentrations of metals in the lake environment after 28 d were several orders of magnitude lower than the 28‐d concentration from the transformation/dissolution tests because Pb, Cu, and Co partitioned to POC in the water column and were subsequently removed due to settling. Resuspension of sediment served to increase total metal in the water column, but the resulting concentrations were still much lower than the 28‐d concentrations from the transformation/dissolution tests. Information from TICKET‐UWM could be used to refine the environmental hazard profiles of metals. Environ Toxicol Chem 2019;38:1256–1272. © 2019 SETAC