DOI: 10.3390/w15162995 ISSN:

A New Acidity-Based Approach for Estimating Total Dissolved Solids in Acidic Mining Influenced Water

Ana Barroso, Teresa Valente, Amélia Paula Marinho Reis, Isabel Margarida H. R. Antunes
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Biochemistry

In natural waters, total dissolved solids (TDS) are usually estimated from electrical conductivity (EC) by applying a conversion factor (f). However, defining this conversion factor for mining influenced water is more complex since this type of water is highly mineralized and has complex chemical matrices. So, the present work aimed to establish a new conversion factor to estimate TDS from the classic parameters usually analyzed for the hydrochemical characterization of these contaminated waters. A total of 121 mining influenced water samples were collected in three mining areas representing pollution scenarios, such as acidic streams, acidic lagoons, and pit lakes. The parameters analyzed were pH, EC, sulfate, acidity, and TDS. The statistical analysis showed that TDS and acidity are related, with a high and significant correlation (r ≥ 0.964, ρ < 0.001), suggesting that this parameter could be an appropriate indicator to estimate the TDS. Moreover, although acidity analysis also involves laboratory work, the time and effort required are considerably less than the gravimetric determination of TDS. Hierarchical cluster analysis applied to these samples allowed the definition of seven classes, and their specific fmedian was calculated employing TDS/Acidity. Then, seven conversion factors were obtained for mining influenced water based on sulfate concentration and acidity degree.

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