Perchlorate in Lake Water from an Operating Diamond Mine.

Abstract

Mining-related perchlorate [ClO4(-)] in the receiving environment was investigated at the operating open-pit and underground Diavik diamond mine, Northwest Territories, Canada. Samples were collected over four years and ClO4(-) was measured in various mine waters, the 560 km(2) ultraoligotrophic receiving lake, background lake water and snow distal from the mine. Groundwaters from the underground mine had variable ClO4(-) concentrations, up to 157 μg L(-1), and were typically an order of magnitude higher than concentrations in combined mine waters prior to treatment and discharge to the lake. Snow core samples had a mean ClO4(-) concentration of 0.021 μg L(-1) (n=16). Snow and lake water Cl(-)/ClO4(-) ratios suggest evapoconcentration was not an important process affecting lake ClO4(-) concentrations. The multiyear mean ClO4(-) concentrations in the lake were 0.30 μg L(-1) (n = 114) in open water and 0.24 μg L(-1) (n = 107) under ice, much below the Canadian drinking water guideline of 6 μg L(-1). Receiving lake concentrations of ClO4(-) generally decreased year over year and ClO4(-) was not likely [biogeo]chemically attenuated within the receiving lake. The discharge of treated mine water was shown to contribute mining-related ClO4(-) to the lake and the low concentrations after 12 years of mining were attributed to the large volume of the receiving lake.

DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b01111

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Cite this paper

@article{Smith2015PerchlorateIL, title={Perchlorate in Lake Water from an Operating Diamond Mine.}, author={Lianna J D Smith and Carol J. Ptacek and David W. Blowes and Laura G Groza and Michael C. Moncur}, journal={Environmental science & technology}, year={2015}, volume={49 13}, pages={7589-96} }