Assessment of groundwater quality and contamination from uranium-bearing black shale in Goesan-Boeun Areas, Korea

Nam Chil Woo, M. J. Choi, K. S. Lee

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Abstract

This study was initiated to identify the impact of metals and uranium enriched soil and black shale in groundwater quality and contamination. From a Piper diagram, groundwater was classified into four types as (Ca+Mg)-HCO3 type, (Ca+Mg)-SO4 type, the mixed type of these two and Na-HCO3 type, reflecting the complicated nature of geology of the study area. Silicate weathering appeared to be the major water-rock interaction. In groundwater, metals including Cr, Pb, Cu and V, previously identified as being enriched in soils and black shale, were much lower in concentrations than Korean and US EPA drinking water guidelines. Instead, Fe and Mn caused major water-quality problems. In the artesian groundwater from an abandoned uranium mine, the uranium concentration was 21.3 μg L-1, slightly higher than EPA guidelines of 20 μg L-1. Heavy metals in groundwater appeared to be controlled mostly by sorptions on to Fe- and Mn-oxyhydroxides. They could be remobilised in groundwater with changes of pH and Eh conditions due to acid mine drainage from black shale or the recharge of fresh water. Uranium would be associated with carbonate and sulphate complexes in groundwater. Because of the remaining water-quality problems in the study area, we suggested containment of identified mine wastes, considering remedial measures for local problems with Fe and Mn, continuous monitoring of groundwater and developing groundwater from deep aquifers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-273
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Geochemistry and Health
Volume24
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Aug 14

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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