Geochemical fractionation of manganese in the Riogrande II reservoir, Antioquia, Colombia

Salazar, G.; Alfaro-De la Torre, M.; Aguirre, R.; Briones-Gallardo, R.; Cedeño, C.; Peñuela, M.
May 2013
Environmental Earth Sciences;May2013, Vol. 69 Issue 1, p197
Academic Journal
The Riogrande II reservoir in Colombia has a total storage capacity of 240 million m and lies 2,270 m above sea level. The reservoir is used for power generation, water supply and environmental improvement. Dissolved manganese (Mn) is removed from reservoir water dedicated to domestic use by purification processes. Removal of Mn, however, poses a major challenge to purification processes and warrants the study of ways to naturally reduce dissolved Mn levels in the reservoir. The source of Mn within the reservoir is not well understood, however, presumably arises from sediment mobilization initiated by variation in pH, redox potential (ORP or Eh), dissolved oxygen (O) and ionic strength conditions. This study investigated conditions within the reservoir to further understand Mn transfer from the sediment into the water column. O, pH, oxidation-reduction potential (ORP or Eh), organic matter content and electric conductivity were measured in water samples and sediment from the reservoir. Sequential extraction (SE) procedures were used to test the specific effects exerted by each of these conditions on Mn mobilization from the sediments. The European Community Bureau of Reference (BCR) sequential extraction procedure was used to quantify metals in sediment (referred to as the BCR extraction below). Statistical analysis of geochemical data from water samples (both water column and sediment pore water) and sediments demonstrated the conditions under which Mn can be released from sediments into the water column. The results indicated a primarily oxic water column and anoxic reducing conditions in the sediment (ORP or Eh ≤ −80 mV). The pH of water in contact with bottom sediments varied from 7.6 to 6.8. The pH of sedimentary pore water varied from 6.8 to 4.7. The sediments contained significant amounts of organic matter (20 %). Chemical extractions showed that the exchangeable fraction contained over 50 % of the total Mn within sediments. Microscopic analysis using scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) indicated that Mn does not occur within well-crystallized mineral phases in the Riogrande II sediments. A large proportion of Mn exists instead as material adsorbed onto the surfaces of recently deposited sediment particles. Bacterial oxidation of organic matter may cause the observed anoxic conditions at the bottom of the reservoir. Mineralization of organic matter therefore contributes to reducing conditions within the sediments. Mobilization of Mn from the sediment into the water column may result from reductive dissolution of this fraction. Manganese release by this mechanism diminishes the water quality of the Riogrande II reservoir and warrants further study.


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