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Origin and fate of Vanadium in the Hazeltine Creek Catchment following the 2014 Mount Polley mine tailings spill, British Columbia, Canada

DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.8b06391 DOI Help

Authors: Karen A. Hudson-edwards (University of Exeter) , Patrick Byrne (Liverpool John Moores University) , Graham Bird (Bangor University) , Paul A. Brewer (Aberystwyth University) , Ian T. Burke (University of Leeds) , Heather E. Jamieson (Queen’s University, Canada) , Mark G. Macklin (University of Lincoln) , Richard D. Williams (University of Glasgow)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Environmental Science & Technology

State: Published (Approved)
Published: March 2019
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 15046

Abstract: Results are presented from the analysis of aqueous and solid-phase V speciation within samples collected from the Hazeltine Creek catchment affected by the August 2014 Mount Polley mine tailings dam failure, Canada. Electron microprobe and XANES analysis found that V is present as V3+ substituted into magnetite, and V3+ and V4+ substituted into titanite, both of which occur in the spilled Mount Polley tailings. Secondary Fe oxyhydroxides forming in inflow waters and on creek beds have V K-edge XANES spectra exhibiting E½ positions and pre-edge features consistent with the presence of V5+ species, suggesting sorption of this species on these secondary phases. PHREEQC modelling suggests that the stream waters mostly contain V5+, and the inflow and pore waters contain a mixture of V3+ and V5+. These data, and stream, inflow and pore water chemical data, suggest that dissolution of V(III)-bearing magnetite, V(III,IV)-bearing titanite, V(V)-bearing Fe(-Al-Si-Mn) oxhydroxides, V-bearing Al(OH)3 and/or -clay minerals may have occurred. In the circumneutral pH environment of Hazeltine Creek elevated V concentrations are likely naturally attenuated by formation of V(V)-bearing secondary Fe oxyhydroxide, Al(OH)3 or clay mineral colloids, suggesting that the V is not bioavailable. A conceptual model is presented describing the origin and fate of V in Hazeltine Creek that is applicable to other river systems.

Keywords: Vanadium; Mount Polley; tailings; magnetite; titanite; XANES

Subject Areas: Environment, Chemistry

Beamlines: I18-Microfocus Spectroscopy