The mobility of heavy metals in aquatic environments, impacted by discharges from mining waste, is one of the major processes causing metal pollution mainly by arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), zinc (Zn) and iron (Fe), which could be risky for biota and human health. The heavy metals contained in mining waste constituted by large amounts of sulfides can reach the aquatic compartments by acid mine drainage and runoff and eventually become deposited in sediments and associated with colloidal material, being this one of the main reservoirs and ways of transport. However, the mobility of heavy metal is influenced by their specific chemical properties and undergo several physicochemical phenomena as sorption, oxidation–reduction, hydrolysis and this can be influenced by water flow, the size and composition of geological material. Hence, this work aims to review the processes and mechanism involved in the fate and transport of heavy metals from mining-waste to aquatic compartments and the methods used for identification of the specific chemical species associated with their mobility and ecological risk.
Part of the book: Water Quality