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Environ Sci Technol. 2007 Feb 1;41(3):753-8.

Assessing the impact of animal waste lagoon seepage on the geochemistry of an underlying shallow aquifer.

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Environmental Restoration Division and Chemical Biology and Nuclear Science Division, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, P.O. Box 808, L-530, Livermore, California 94551, USA.


Evidence of seepage from animal waste holding lagoons at a dairy facility in the San Joaquin Valley of California is assessed in the context of a process geochemical model that addresses reactions associated with the formation of the lagoon water as well as reactions occurring upon the mixture of lagoon water with underlying aquifer material. Comparison of model results with observed concentrations of NH4+, K+, PO4(3-), dissolved inorganic carbon, pH, Ca2+, Mg2+, SO4(2-), Cl-, and dissolved Ar in lagoon water samples and groundwater samples suggests three key geochemical processes: (i) off-gassing of significant quantities of CO2 and CH4 during mineralization of manure in the lagoon water, (ii) ion exchange reactions that remove K+ and NH4+ from seepage water as it migrates into the underlying anaerobic aquifer material, and (iii) mineral precipitation reactions involving phosphate and carbonate minerals in the lagoon water in response to an increase in pH as well as in the underlying aquifer from elevated Ca2+ and Mg2+ levels generated by ion exchange. Substantial off-gassing from the lagoons is further indicated by dissolved argon concentrations in lagoon water samples that are below atmospheric equilibrium. As such, Ar may serve as a unique tracer for lagoon water seepage since under-saturated Ar concentrations in groundwater are unlikely to be influenced by any processes other than mechanical mixing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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