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Environ Manage. 2005 Jul;36(1):162-73.

Study of fractionation and potential mobility of metal from the Guadalquivir estuary: changes in mobility with time and influence of the aznalcollar mining spill.

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Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of Seville, Seville, Spain.


This study analyzed the evolution of metal levels in surface sediments from the Guadalquivir estuary between 1997 and 2002 and assessed the impact of the April 1998 Aznalcollar tailings dam failure and subsequent cleanup on metal concentrations in surface sediments. We also analyzed metal distribution with time in five chemical fractions of the surface sediments: exchangable, carbonate, reducible, oxidizable, and residual. This work showed that the April 1998 Aznalcollar tailings dam failure caused a considerable increase in the concentrations of Cd, Zn, Cu, and Pb in the surface sediments of the Guadalquivir estuary. It was also found there was a change in the distribution of Cd, Zn, Cu, and Pb between the chemical fractions of the sediment after the failure of the dam. There were increases in the percentages of Cd in the carbonate fraction, of Zn and Pb in the reducible fraction, and of Cu in the oxidizable fraction, whereas the percentages of these elements associated with the residual fraction decreased. In 1999, there was a decrease in the metal concentrations in the surface sediments from the Guadalquivir estuary, and by 2000 the chemical distribution and metal levels had returned to levels similar those before the dam failure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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