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Geochemical Modeling of Reactions and Partitioning of Trace Metals and Radionuclides during Titration of Contaminated Acidic Sediments

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posted on 2008-11-01, 00:00 authored by Fan Zhang, Wensui Luo, Jack C. Parker, Brian P. Spalding, Scott C. Brooks, David B. Watson, Philip M. Jardine, Baohua Gu
Many geochemical reactions that control aqueous metal concentrations are directly affected by solution pH. However, changes in solution pH are strongly buffered by various aqueous phase and solid phase precipitation/dissolution and adsorption/desorption reactions. The ability to predict acid−base behavior of the soil−solution system is thus critical to predict metal transport under variable pH conditions. This study was undertaken to develop a practical generic geochemical modeling approach to predict aqueous and solid phase concentrations of metals and anions during conditions of acid or base additions. The method of Spalding and Spalding was utilized to model soil buffer capacity and pH-dependent cation exchange capacity by treating aquifer solids as a polyprotic acid. To simulate the dynamic and pH-dependent anion exchange capacity, the aquifer solids were simultaneously treated as a polyprotic base controlled by mineral precipitation/dissolution reactions. An equilibrium reaction model that describes aqueous complexation, precipitation, sorption and soil buffering with pH-dependent ion exchange was developed using HydroGeoChem v5.0 (HGC5). Comparison of model results with experimental titration data of pH, Al, Ca, Mg, Sr, Mn, Ni, Co, and SO42− for contaminated sediments indicated close agreement, suggesting that the model could potentially be used to predict the acid−base behavior of the sediment−solution system under variable pH conditions.

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