The Occurrence of Heavy Metals and Metalloids in Surficial Lake Sediments before and after a Tailings Dam Failure
Petra Vrhovnik1, Tadej Dolenec1, Todor Serafimovski2, Matej Dolenec1, Nastja Rogan Šmuc1
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1 Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, University of Ljubljana, Department of Geology,
Aškerčeva cesta 12,1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
2 Faculty of Mining, Geology and Polytechnics, University “Goce Delčev-Štip,”
Goce Delčev 89, 2000 Štip, Macedonia
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2013;22(5):1525–1538
Tailings dam failures are relatively rare but can cause extremely high and long-term impacts on the envi- ronment. The Sasa tailings dam collapsed in August 2003 and caused an intensive flow of tailings material through the Kamenica River all the way to Lake Kalimanci, where most of the tailings material discharged. This study deals with the characterization of surficial lake sediments from Lake Kalimanci in eastern Macedonia. Mineralogical, geochemical, and statistical analyses of surficial sediments in two sampling years, before and after the Sasa tailings dam failure, were carried out. To determine the pollution status of surficial lake sediments, two environmental indexes were calculated for 2001 and 2007. Spatial distribution of the ana- lyzed heavy metals and metalloids shows that the highest concentrations were measured on the northern part of the lake, where the Kamenica River enters.