Naturally-occurring uranium can be found at elevated concentrations in groundwater throughout the world, with the potential to cause kidney damage in chronically exposed individuals. Empirical evidence shows that uranium mobilization can be enhanced in the presence of ions that are associated with leachate from construction and demolition (C&D) disposal sites. There is need for a simple and effective procedure to evaluate soil and rock formations for uranium mobility prior to the permitting of waste disposal facilities which could alter groundwater chemistry. A series of leachate extractions were performed to represent the impact of C&D leachate on uranium-bearing rocks, focusing on the impact of calcium, sodium, chloride, sulphate, and bicarbonate concentrations on uranium mobilization. Based on these observations a uranium leaching procedure (ULP) was developed and compared to the synthetic precipitation leaching procedure (SPLP). The ULP was capable of mobilizing an order of magnitude more uranium than the SPLP from six rock samples and shows promise as a tool for assessing the risk of groundwater contamination by C&D waste through uranium mobilization.
Keywords: Construction and demolition; Contaminant hydrogeology; Geochemical speciation; Leaching procedure; Uranium.
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