Acid mine drainage from a rock dump at an abandoned mine in Dalarna, Sweden, has contaminated the groundwater and created a leachate plume characterized by low pH and high concentrations of Fe, SO4, and heavy metals. Groundwater samples have been collected in order to explain the observed spatial variations in groundwater chemistry. The mineralogy of soil samples collected at the water table has been identified by X-ray diffraction analysis In order to determine which processes may be controlling the evolution of the leachate plume, the geochemical mass-transfer model PHREEQE is used to evaluate a possible reaction pathway controlling the reaction of the leachate plume with uncontaminated groundwater and the till aquifer. The results suggest that silicate weathering and goethite precipitation are the processes primarily controlling observed pH, pe, and Fe concentrations in groundwater direct down-gradient of the rock dump. Increases in K, Na, and Al concentrations along the flow path can be attributed to the feldspar weathering while Al and SO4 concentrations further down-gradient can be controlled by the precipitation of AlOHSO4. The attenuation of heavy metal concentrations may be the result of adsorption and coprecipitation with goethite and other Fe xides.
Research Article|June 01 1994