Dissolved and suspended toxic elements in water discharged from abandoned and active mining areas pose several critical issues, since they represent a threat to the environment. In this work, we investigated the water, suspended particulates, and stream sediments of a 2.1 km long creek (Fosso della Chiusa) that is fed by waters draining the galleries of the abandoned Hg mining area of Abbadia San Salvatore (Mt. Amiata, Tuscany, central Italy). The geochemical results show evidence that the studied matrices are characterized by relatively high concentrations of Hg and As, whereas those of Sb are generally close to or below the instrumental detection limit. Independent of the matrices, the concentration of As decreases from the emergence point to the confluence with the Pagliola creek. In contrast, Hg concentrations display more complex behavior, as water and sediment are mainly characterized by concentrations that significantly increase along the water course. According to the geoaccumulation index (Igeo), sediments belong to Class 6 (extremely contaminated) for Hg. The Igeo of As varies from Class 6, close to the emergence, to Class 2 (moderately contaminated), dropping to Class 0 (uncontaminated) at the confluence with the Pagliola creek. Finally, the total mass load of Hg and As entering the Pagliola creek was computed to be 1.3 and 0.5 kg/year, respectively, when a mean flow rate of 40 L/s was considered. The calculated loads are relatively low, but, when the Fosso della Chiusa drainage basin is taken into account, the specific load is comparable to, or even higher than, those of other mining areas.

Mercury and Arsenic Discharge from Circumneutral Waters Associated with the Former Mining Area of Abbadia San Salvatore (Tuscany, Central Italy)

Vetuschi Zuccolini M.;
2022

Abstract

Dissolved and suspended toxic elements in water discharged from abandoned and active mining areas pose several critical issues, since they represent a threat to the environment. In this work, we investigated the water, suspended particulates, and stream sediments of a 2.1 km long creek (Fosso della Chiusa) that is fed by waters draining the galleries of the abandoned Hg mining area of Abbadia San Salvatore (Mt. Amiata, Tuscany, central Italy). The geochemical results show evidence that the studied matrices are characterized by relatively high concentrations of Hg and As, whereas those of Sb are generally close to or below the instrumental detection limit. Independent of the matrices, the concentration of As decreases from the emergence point to the confluence with the Pagliola creek. In contrast, Hg concentrations display more complex behavior, as water and sediment are mainly characterized by concentrations that significantly increase along the water course. According to the geoaccumulation index (Igeo), sediments belong to Class 6 (extremely contaminated) for Hg. The Igeo of As varies from Class 6, close to the emergence, to Class 2 (moderately contaminated), dropping to Class 0 (uncontaminated) at the confluence with the Pagliola creek. Finally, the total mass load of Hg and As entering the Pagliola creek was computed to be 1.3 and 0.5 kg/year, respectively, when a mean flow rate of 40 L/s was considered. The calculated loads are relatively low, but, when the Fosso della Chiusa drainage basin is taken into account, the specific load is comparable to, or even higher than, those of other mining areas.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11567/1083087
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