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Effects of acid-mine wastes on aquatic ecosystemsAuthor(s): John David Parsons
Source: In: Dochinger, L. S.; Seliga, T. A., eds. Proceedings of the first international symposium on acid precipitation and the forest ecosystem; Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-23. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 571-595
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Northeastern Research Station
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DescriptionThe Cedar Creek Basin (39th N parallel 92nd W meridian) was studied for the period June 1952 through August 1954 to observe the effects of both continuous and periodic acid effluent flows on aquatic communities. The acid strip-mine effluent contained ferric and ferrous iron, copper, lead, zinc, aluminum, magnesium, titratable acid, and elevated hydrogen ion concentration, and was toxic to many of the aquatic organisms. In the areas of Cedar Creek, subjected to continuous acid flow, planktonic and benthic species had become adapted to the severe conditions and varied in abundance and diversity. No fishes were observed in the area with continuous acid effluents. Downstream, where periodic mineral acid conditions changed drastically during an excessive effluent flow, planktonic and benthic communities had high diversity but low density. The populations of fishes were variable in this stream reach. The chemical basis of water quality variability was shown to be time related, and statistically related to the aquatic communities. Physical, chemical and biological conditions of acid lakes formed by surface mining were reviewed. In addition to apparent physical and chemical differences in lakes, due in part to variable solar absorbance due to suspended oxides of iron, chemical variability related to organic composition was reviewed. It is quite probable that degradation of such lakes can be reversed.
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CitationParsons, John David. 1976. Effects of acid-mine wastes on aquatic ecosystems. In: Dochinger, L. S.; Seliga, T. A., eds. Proceedings of the first international symposium on acid precipitation and the forest ecosystem; Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-23. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 571-595
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