The municipality of Västervik, with support from Envipro Miljöteknik AB, is carrying out a main study of the minefields at Gladhammar. Mining of iron, copper and cobalt under different periods from the 16th century until the end of the 19th century has led to discharges of metals to the lakes situated downstream. The aim of the main study is to investigate the possibilities to reduce the environmental load on the surrounding ground and water caused by heavy metals from the mine.
The present report is a part of the main study. The aim of the work is to investigate the geochemistry of the groundwater. As a starting point, questions concerning affected areas, occurring metals and possible processes for propagation and limitation of the pollutants, have been posed.
The work is based on data from a pre-study and of the main study. In total, there are 25 groundwater pipes in the area. A subset of these pipes has been chosen in order to delimit the task at hand. The number of analysed measurements for each groundwater pipe range from five to 15. The data material has been compiled and subsequently evaluated with respect to natural background, variation in time, correlation with precipitation, depth and other measured parameters. Geochemical modelling using the computer code PHREEQC has also been conducted.
The waste of the minefields at Gladhammar is constituted of waste rock, slag and tailings. Arsenic, cobalt, copper, lead and zinc are the prevailing metals in the area. Iron, manganese and sulphur control the behaviour of heavy metals in water to a great extent and they have, as well as the prevailing metals, therefore been in focus for the study.
The data compilation shows that pipes in the proximity of slag and waste rock have the highest content of cobalt and copper.
The groundwater is affected, with respect to guideline-values, by, above all, cobalt and copper, but also to a certain extent by lead. The content of arsenic and zinc is classified as low to moderate. The groundwater is most affected in the areas of Holländarefältet and Torsfall.
The data analysis shows that out flush of secondarily retained metals is a likely pollutant process. Primarily, this is valid for cobalt and copper. The pollution propagation is likely limited by precipitation of secondarily minerals as well as adsorption to iron, manganese and aluminium particles.
The groundwater in the pipes close to waste rock and slag most certainly consists of surface water that runs off from the heaps on top of the hill. This is demonstrated by the high metal content of the surface run off. According to calculations on mixing, the groundwater at the shore is made up by a mixture of lake water and mine entrance water.
Interdisciplinary studies, Groundwater, geochemistry, metals, mine waste, weathering, adsorption, precipitate