Subsurface movement of zinc from contaminated dredge spoils at a periodically flooded site

W. R. Kelly, H. A. Wehrmann, T. R. Holm, J. L. Talbott, L. M. Skowron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1982, sediments contaminated with zinc, cadmium, and copper were dredged from Lake DePue in Illinois and deposited in a diked sediment disposal area (DSDA) that is flooded annually for at least three months. Data from soil and groundwater samples collected at multiple depths within and adjacent to the DSDA indicate vertical movement of the metals in the subsurface, although groundwater outside of the DSDA was not contaminated with any of the metals. Zinc was elevated in almost all of the wells inside the DSDA. Cadmium concentrations were elevated in shallow wells inside the DSDA, while copper was rarely detected in the groundwater. Comparisons of groundwater samples taken within the DSDA under flooded and unflooded conditions suggest that pH and redox conditions controlled metal solubilities. A comparison between soil cores and sediment cores from Lake DePue suggest that zinc was more mobile than cadmium or copper within the DSDA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-34
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Geology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2003


  • Cadmium
  • Dredge spoils
  • Groundwater
  • Illinois
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution
  • Soil Science


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