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Published August 1994 | metadata_only
Journal Article

Leakage of industrial lead into the hydrocycle


Quantitative knowledge concerning the contamination effect by industrial Pb migrating through soils into groundwaters has been delineated in a special study carried out in a remote, high altitude mountain valley. Approximately 0.5 ton of industrial Pb has been added in past decades from the atmosphere via precipitation and dry deposition to the 3 km^2 area of lightly forested and open meadow soil lying within the 13 km^2 area of the rocky valley. Industrial Pb could be distinguished and its amounts quantitatively determined by use of its unique isotopic composition, which was different from natural Pb in meadow soil. Industrial Pb introduced into the canyon within snow was interacting and exchanging with the larger reservoir of industrial Pb accumulated in canyon soil. Lead in the snow-melt runoff had become attached to soil-derived colloids, and a mixture of industrial and natural particulate Pb was released from the soil to stream water and groundwater. The flux of Pb leached from the accumulated reservoir of industrial Pb in soil could be measured as it flowed through soil pathways into stream runoff waters draining the valley. Such leached industrial Pb comprised about 75% of the total Pb in stream runoff of snow-melt and 20% of the total Pb in stream runoff of groundwater.

Additional Information

© 1994 Elsevier Science Ltd. Received June 16, 1993; accepted in revised form February 25, 1994. Paper presented at the symposium "Topics in Global Geochemistry" in honor of Clair C. Patterson on 3-4 December 1993 in Pasadena, California, USA. The authors wish to thank J. D. Blum, A. J. Friedland, T. K. Hinkley, and an anonymous reviewer for their helpful comments. Editorial handling: T. M. Church

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August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023