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Sci Total Environ. 2004 Sep 1;330(1-3):217-32.

Transformation of positively charged aluminium-species in unstable mixing zones following liming.

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Agricultural University of Norway, Isotope Laboratory, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, PO Box 5003, N-1432 As.


Liming is widely used to counteract chronic toxicity of positively charged monomeric aluminium species (Ali). Immediately after liming, unstable mixing zones are formed due to the sudden increase in pH. Transformation of monomeric Ali species takes place instantaneously and transient positively charged Al polymers, being acute toxic to fish, are formed in the mixing zones. Using in situ hollow fibre ultrafiltration interfaced with ion chromatography in unstable mixing zone field experiments performed in two river systems situated south and southwest of Norway, information on time-dependent transformations of low molecular mass (LMM) and high molecular mass (HMM) positively charged Ali-species has been followed. The formation of HMM Ali species from LMM Ali occurred rapidly following liming. HMM Ali species have a certain lifetime and are transformed to high molecular mass neutral Al-species (HMM Alo) and then to non-reactive colloidal Al species (HMM Alc). Concentration levels of transient Al-species formed in the mixing zone and the rate of transformation depend on the concentrations of LMM Ali species, Al complexing ligands (DOC and Si) in the input water and on pH in the mixing zone after liming. A dynamic model describing transformation processes influencing the Al speciation in mixing zones following a sudden increase in pH is suggested. Based on the experimental results, associated rate constants and half-lives for transient Al-species were estimated.

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