Transport of Anthropogenic Uranium from Sediments to Surface Waters During Episodic Storm Events Academic Article uri icon


  • Remobilization of sediment-associated 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 ability. 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 sediment-associated 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), MnO2occluded 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

  • Journal of Environmental Quality

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

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

citation count

  • 40

complete list of authors

  • Batson, Vicky L||Bertsch, PM||Herbert, BE

publication date

  • September 1996