Impact of mine water disposal on concentration of barium and strontium in waters and sediments of the Odra River

Izabela Bojakowska, Gertruda Sokołowska, Monika Konieczyńska

Abstract


The effect of mine water disposal on the occurrence of barium, strontium, calcium and magnesium was investigated in waters and alluvia of the Odra River and its tributaries with their heads in the Upper Silesia. Barium concentration in alluvium of the Odra reaches a very high level of 2435 ppm; at the same time, its concentration in sediments of the Upper and Middle Odra courses is scores of times higher than its geochemical background. Sediments deposited in the Lower Odra course, downstream from the confluence with the Warta River, contain barium in amount close to geochemical background of this element in aqueous sediments in Poland. Barium concentrations in alluvium of the Odra tributaries occurred to be as high as 1700 ppm; maximum concentration is typical for sediments of the Olza River. The effect of saline water disposal on the occurrence of strontium in aqueous sediments of the Odra is much lower; however, higher concentrations than those in sediments of the Lower Odra are observed in alluvium of the Upper and Middle Odra. Similar range of strontium concentrations appears in alluvium of the Odra tributaries. A considerable increase of content of barium and strontium in relation to calcium in sediments is a consequence of a discharge of saline mine waters to the Odra catchment area; in particular, this deals with barium. Considerably elevated content of barium and strontium is a characteristic feature of the Odra waters; particularly affected is the Upper Odra course where waters from hard coal mines are discharged. 39 to 188 ppb is a common range of barium concentration in the Odra waters while 13 to 150 ppb is the range for the Odra tributaries. A discharge of mine waters of excessive salinity to the river has more important bearing on strontium than on barium. Its presence in the Odra waters was recorded at 267 to 901 ppb; maximum concentration was noted in the upper and middle river courses. As concerns tributaries, strontium was recorded in the range of 103 to 1888 ppb. A considerable increase in strontium in relation to calcium was also noted.


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