GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 180-3
Presentation Time: 8:45 AM


TSOSIE, Ranalda L., Dept. of Chemistry, University of Montana, 32 Campus Dr., Missoula, MT 59812

The legacy left by abandoned uranium mines continues to affect Dineh communities. This has resulted in numerous water sources that exceed established maximum contaminate levels for uranium and other metals. These contaminations are a result of abandoned Cold War uranium mining and mill waste sites. The improper disposal of these waste materials has had adverse health and ecological impacts on the community.

Groundwater contaminations caused by heavy metal ions remain an environmental concern, despite many years of research and remediation efforts. Traditional solvent extraction methods are expensive, time consuming and pose additional problems with the generation of waste products. The aim of this study is to use solid phase extraction methods to remediate contaminated water sources. An example is Silica Polyamine Composites (SPC), which have been used to filter, isolate and remove unwanted metals by acting as a chelating agent. We hypothesized that functionalized SPCs will be effective at removing uranyl, vanadium and arsenic ions from contaminated water.

In addition to addressing longstanding water contamination issues, the implementation of this project using indigenous research methods will establish a cohesive and cooperative study that incorporates traditional knowledge and community involvement. Often communities that are located within close proximity to abandoned mines are unaware of the environmental injustices occurring in their backyards. Therefore, communication of the scientific results is vital to the success of this study.