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The water quality of the River Carnon, west Cornwall, November 1992 to March 1994: the impacts of Wheal Jane discharges

Neal, C., Whitehead, P., Jeffery, H. and Neal, M. (2005) The water quality of the River Carnon, west Cornwall, November 1992 to March 1994: the impacts of Wheal Jane discharges. Science of the Total Environment, 338 (1-2). pp. 23-39. ISSN 0048-9697

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2004.09.003


In January 1992, there was a major pollutant event for the River Canon and downstream with its confluence to the River Fal and the Fal estuary in the west Cornwall. This incident was associated with the discharge of several million gallons of highly polluted water from the abandoned Wheal Jane tin mine that also extracted Ag, Cu and Zn ore. Later that year, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CBH; then Institute of Hydrology) Wallingford undertook daily monitoring of the River Canon for a range of major, minor and trace elements to assess the nature and the dynamics of the pollutant discharges. These data cover an 18-month period when there remained major water-quality problems after the initial phase of surface water contamination. Here, a summary is provided of the water quality found, as a backdrop to set against subsequent remediation. Two types of water-quality determinant grouping were observed. The first type comprises the determinants B, Cs, Ca, Li, K, Na, SO4, Rb and Sr, and their concentrations are positively correlated with each other but inversely correlated with flow. This type of water-quality determinant shows variations in concentration that broadly link to the normal hydrogeochemical processes within the catchment, with limited confounding issues associated with mine drainage. The second type of water-quality determinant comprises Al, Be, Cd, Ce, Co, Cu, Fe, La, Pb, Pr, Nd, Ni, Si, Sb, U, Y and Zn, and concentrations for all this group are positively correlated. The determinants in this second group all have concentrations that are negatively correlated with pH. This group links primarily to pollutant mine discharge. The water-quality variations in the River Camon are described in relation to these two distinct hydrogeochemical groupings. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V All rights reserved.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:3919
Uncontrolled Keywords:acid mine drainage aluminium antimony beryllium barium boron cadmium cerium caesium calcium cerium cobalt copper gibbsite iron lanthanum lanthanides lead lithium nickel potassium rubidium silica sodium sulphate strontium yttrium zinc River Carnon mine mine drainage pollution uranium Wheal Jane ACIDIFICATION MODELS CHEMISTRY ALUMINUM
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