Water quality of the Guadiamar River after the Aznalcollar spill (SW Spain)
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|Authors:||Olias, M.;Ceron, J. C.;Moral, F.;Ruiz, F.|
|Address:||Departamento de Geodinamica y Paleontologia, Facultad de Ciencias Experimentales, Universidad de Huelva, Campus 'El Carmen' s/n, 21071 Huelva, Spain. email@example.com|
In April 1998, a spill of 6 hm3 of pyritic mud and acidic water was released into the Guadiamar River due to the rupture of the Aznalcollar tailings dam. Before the spill, the river was already strongly affected by acid mine drainage (AMD). In this study, the water quality of the Guadiamar River is analysed from a periodic sampling started after the spill. Previous data of the water quality have also been obtained. A recovery of the water quality is observed from 2002 on. The distribution of arsenic is opposed to that of the rest of metals, with the lowest concentrations to the north, due to the adsorption and/or coprecipitation on ferric oxyhydroxides. In the southern area, when pH values are close to 8, arsenic desorption occurs. There is a seasonal pattern of the trace metal content evolution, different in the northern and southern zones of the river. In the northern area the highest polluting levels occur in summer, due to a lower dilution of the mining leachates. In the southern area, the highest metal levels occur during the winter, since during the summer metals remain held by surface sorption processes in the hyporheic zone of the river.