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Geochemical recovery of the Torna-Marcal river system after the Ajka red mud spill, Hungary

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Adam Jarvis



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The failure of the Ajka red mud depository in October 2010 led to the largest single release of red mud into the surface water environment. This study provides a comparative assessment of stream sediment quality in the Torna-Marcal-Raba catchment between post-disaster surveys (2010) and follow up surveys at an identical suite of 21 locations in 2013. The signature of red mud apparent in initial surveys with high Al, As, Cr, Na, V was only apparent at a small number of sample stations in recent surveys. These constitute <1 km of stream, compared to the >20 km reach of affected sediments in the immediate aftermath of the spill. Concentrations of red mud-derived contaminants are predominately associated with fine fractions of the red mud (< 8 mu m). This enhances transport out of the system of red mud-derived contaminants and, along with extensive remedial efforts, has substantially limited the within-channel inventory of potentially ecotoxic metals and metalloids.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Anton AD, Klebercz O, Magyar A, Burke IT, Jarvis AP, Gruiz K, Mayer WM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts

Year: 2014

Volume: 16

Issue: 12

Pages: 2677-2685

Print publication date: 01/12/2014

Online publication date: 07/10/2014

Acceptance date: 06/10/2014

Date deposited: 13/02/2015

ISSN (print): 2050-7887

ISSN (electronic): 2050-7895

Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry


DOI: 10.1039/c4em00452c


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