In-stream processing of sediment-associated metals in peatland fluvial systems

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The interaction between fluvially transported, metal contaminated peat particulates and acidic waters draining peatland catchments has received limited attention. Potential in-stream processing of sediment-associated metals in acidic stream water was investigated in laboratory based mixing experiments, designed to represent conditions of fluvial sediment transport in a highly contaminated and severely eroding peatland catchment in the Peak District (UK). Over the initial 20 min of the first experiment, stream water Cr and Zn concentrations increased by at least an order-of-magnitude and remained elevated for the full duration (24 h) of the experiment. Stream water As, Mo, Pb, Ti and V concentrations increased between 43% (As) and 440% (V) over the first hour of the experiment. After 24 h most of the metals appeared to have reached equilibrium in the water column. Results of the second experiment revealed that when the concentration of metal contaminated peat particulates is increased, there is an associated increase in the stream water As, Cr, Mo, Pb, Ti, V and Zn concentrations. The experimental data suggest that As, Cr, Mo, Pb, Ti, V and Zn are liable to desorption from metal contaminated peat into acidic stream water. The solubilisation of contaminated peat particulates may also contribute to elevated stream water metal concentrations. The laboratory based approach used in this study may indicate that when there is erosion of metal contaminated peat into acidic fluvial systems there is a concomitant increase in dissolved metal levels, especially when suspended sediment concentrations are high. Further laboratory and field based experiments are required to evaluate the relative importance of physical and chemical processes in the interaction between contaminated peat particulates and stream water in peatland fluvial systems. © 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-64
JournalWater, Air, and Soil Pollution
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008


  • Acidic stream water
  • Desorption
  • Metals
  • Mixing
  • Peak District
  • Peat erosion


Dive into the research topics of 'In-stream processing of sediment-associated metals in peatland fluvial systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this