Natural clean-up of uranium

Posted on September 26, 2009

High levels of uranium in drinking water threaten human health because of the dangers associated with radiation and chemical toxicity.  Environmental monitoring in the Kaminosawa Stream in centralJapanrevealed a sharp increase in dissolved uranium near a large K-feldspar mine.  Downstream, four concrete dams capture suspended silt and sand originating from the mine.  In the sediments collected by the dams, there was a strong relationship between uranium and the levels of organic and amorphous inorganic matter, indicating that uranium was being removed from the water by adsorption.  The results showed that dissolved uranium was reduced to near-normal background levels by sediment capture and downstream dilution. 

Reference:  Manaka, M., Seki, Y., Okuzawa, K. & Watanabe, Y.  2008.  Uranium sorption onto natural sediments within a small stream in central Japan.  Limnology 9,173–183.

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