SEDIMENT CONTAMINANT DISTRIBUTION AND CHEMICAL BEHAVIOR FROM THE TRI-STATE LEAD AND ZINC MINING DISTRICT
In this study we determined the extent of mine waste and contaminants migrated downstream, and determined if the contaminants were the original mine tailing material or if the metals were released from the mining material then adsorbed to the surface of sediments. We collected sediment samples at mine tailings piles in Picher, OK, and then traveled approximately 50 miles south sampling along the banks of Lytle Creek, the Spring River, and the Neosho River. We are using the field data and laboratory testing to determine the extent of contaminants downstream from the mine, as well as the chemical behavior of the contaminants when released. Thirteen sediment samples were collected, stored, dried, and prepared for sequential leaching analysis from various locations downstream. Sediment samples were sieved into six size fractions ranging from <63µm to >1000µm for each site sample. Then the samples were leached with the Tessier (1979) leaching procedure for the 1) Exchangeable, 2) Carbonate, and 3) Fe-Mn Oxide fractions. The results from these experiments will enable a better understanding of contaminant distribution and behavior, as well as better monitoring of the contamination near mining sites.