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This article in VZJ

  1. Vol. 10 No. 3, p. 1058-1070
     
    Received: Aug 19, 2010


    * Corresponding author(s): pjardine@utk.edu
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doi:10.2136/vzj2010.0102

Geochemical Processes Governing the Fate and Transport of Chromium(III) and Chromium(VI) in Soils

  1. P. M. Jardine *a,
  2. T. L. Mehlhornb,
  3. W. B. Baileyc,
  4. S. C. Brooksd,
  5. S. Fendorfe,
  6. R. W. Gentryf,
  7. T. J. Phelpsg and
  8. J. E. Saiersg
  1. a Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science Dep., Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-4531
    b Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Lab., Bethel Valley Rd., Oak Ridge, TN 37831
    c Nuclear Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Lab., Bethel Valley Rd., Oak Ridge, TN 37831
    d Dep. of Environmental Earth System Science, Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA 94305-4015
    e Dep. of Civil Engineering, Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996
    f Biological Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Lab., Bethel Valley Rd., Oak Ridge, TN 37831; and
    g Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale Univ., New Haven, CT 06511. This research was sponsored by the USDOE, Office of Science, Biological Environmental Research, Climate and Environmental Sciences Division (CESD). Oak Ridge National Lab. is managed by UT-Battelle LLC for the USDOE under Contract DEAC05-00OR22725

Abstract

Chromium has served as an exceptional and necessary elemental component of many industrial processes and consumer products. Its prevalence in the global environment as both a dissolved and wind-borne constituent has prompted concern during the last several decades due to the large migration potential and biological toxicity of various Cr chemical species. The objective of this study was to develop an improved understanding and predictive capability of the rates and mechanisms of competing geochemical redox and sorption reactions that govern the fate and transport of Cr(III) and C(VI) in heterogeneous subsurface environments. Batch and miscible displacement experiments, coupled with solid-phase spectroscopy methods, were utilized to quantify the interaction of Cr with subsurface materials acquired from three geographically distinct locations within the continental United States that represented soils from different Department of Energy facilities known to have issues regarding Cr contamination. Soil chemical and mineralogical properties were found to be important factors controlling the mechanisms of Cr–solid phase interactions, with many of the reactive processes being time dependent. Both sorption and redox reactions impacted Cr(III)– and Cr(VI)–solid phase interactions and were modeled as nonlinear, nonequilibrium or equilibrium, reversible or nonreversible reactive processes. The research investigations within this study highlight the environmental significance of Cr speciation and solid-phase reactivity in heterogeneous subsurface soil systems with contrasting geochemical and mineralogical properties.

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