Transport of anthropogenic uranium from sediments to surface waters during episodic storm events Academic Article uri icon


  • AbstractRemobilization of sedimentassociated uranium (U) from contaminated floodplain sediments to a stream adjacent to a nuclear weapons processing facility during episodic rain events was investigated. In addition, U solid phase associations in suspended sediments were assessed by a sequential chemical extraction procedure to gauge U chemical lability. Mass flux estimates determined from base flow measurements potentially underestimate the amount of U transported from contaminated terrestrial sources to surface water systems. Erosional processes can effectively mobilize sedimentassociated contaminants during storms or flooding. During the various storm events measured, approximately 1500 to 2800% more U was exported to Upper Three Runs Creek (UTRC) relative to base flow measurements. Sequential extraction results suggest the suspended sediment load transports the bulk of U in labile forms predominantly as acid soluble (specifically adsorbed), MnO2 occluded and organically bound phases. This implies that U may be available to the ecosystem under a range of environmental conditions likely to be encountered within depositional environments (e.g., Eh and pH) or as a result of industrial processes. This study demonstrates the need to evaluate contaminant transport during storm events from exposed contaminated sediments, or from industrial waste stockpiles subject to erosion.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Batson, V. L., Bertsch, P. M., & Herbert, B. E.

citation count

  • 42

complete list of authors

  • Batson, VL||Bertsch, PM||Herbert, BE

publication date

  • September 1996