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Earth Sciences & Geography - Hydrogeology | Contaminated Rivers - A Geomorphological-Geochemical Approach to Site Assessment and Remediation

Contaminated Rivers

A Geomorphological-Geochemical Approach to Site Assessment and Remediation

Miller, Jerry R., Orbock Miller, Suzanne M.

2007, XIV, 418 p.

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  • In-depth discussion of the mechanics involved in the transport, deposition, and remobilization of contaminated sediments by physical processes
  • Comprehensive examination of the use of geomorphic principles to identify and map spatial variations in metal concentrations in contaminated river valleys
  • Analysis of the linkages between chemical and physical processes associated with heavy metal cycling in streams and rivers
  • Detailed description of the methods employed to remediate or restore metal contaminated rivers

The geomorphological, surficial and geochemical processes and conditions of rivers require a tailored set of strategies and programs to successfully clean up contaminated river reaches. The primary purpose of this book is not only to provide students and professionals with an introductory understanding of fluvial geomorphic principles but also to explain using a process oriented approach how these geomorphic principles can be integrated with geochemical data to cost-effectively characterize, assess and remediate contaminated river systems. Numerous case studies from North America and many other parts of the world are included.

Upper level undergraduate and graduate students in geoscience, engineering, environmental science, geography, geochemistry, toxicology, and soil science studying the means to assess, remediate or restore contaminated streams and rivers. It also serves as a reference book for professionals who are working on contaminated aquatic systems, particularly rivers contaminated by trace metals.


"River contamination is a problem of global significance. This book provides a comprehensive and highly readable review of the role of fluvial geomorphic processes in understanding and predicting the dispersal and fate of contaminants in aquatic environments. Aimed at both students and professionals it forms an excellent introductory text to this rapidly developing field, especially in river basins experiencing rapid environmental change."
Mark G. Macklin, University of Aberystwyth, UK

"This excellent book clearly and graphically explains the geochemical and geomorphological principles influencing the contamination of river systems, and cost-effective methods for contaminated river assessment and remediation. I shall certainly be recommending it to all of my students and colleagues."
Karen Hudson-Edwards, Birkbeck, University of London, UK


Content Level » Graduate

Keywords » Erosion - Sediment - fluvial - fluvial geomorphology - heavy metal pollution - hydrology - remediation - river restoration - site assessment

Related subjects » Geochemistry - Geography - Geology - Hydrogeology - Pollution and Remediation - Water Quality, Pollution and Health

Table of contents 

1 Contaminated Rivers: An Overview 1.1 Introduction 1.2 Types of Contaminants 1.2.1 Organic Contaminants 1.2.2 Inorganic Contaminants 1.3 Sources of Contamination 1.4 The Dissolved Versus Particulate Load 1.5 Site Characterization, Assessment, and Remediation 1.6 The Geomorphological-Geochemical Approach 1.7 Summary 1.8 Suggested Readings 2 Sediment-Trace Metal Interactions 2.1 Introduction 2.2 Physical Partitioning of Trace Metals in Sediment 2.3 Chemical Partitioning of Trace Metals 2.3.1 Mechanistic Associations 2.3.2 Chemically Reactive Substrates 2.4 Elemental Speciation 2.5 Chemical Remobilization 2.6 Summary 2.7 Suggested Readings 3 Basin Processes 3.1 Introduction 3.2 Hillslope Hydrology 3.2.1 Direct Runoff Generation 3.2.2 Flood Hydrographs 3.3 Contaminant Transport Pathways 3.3.1 The Controlling Factors 3.3.2 Transport via Hortonian Overland Flow 3.3.3 Mapping Spatial Variations in Metal Sources 3.4 Hillslope Erosion 3.4.1 Basic Mechanics 3.4.2 Measurement of Erosion Rates 3.4.3 Prediction of Erosion Rates 3.5 Summary 3.6 Suggested Readings 4 The Water Column - Concentration and Load 4.1 Introduction 4.2 Temporal Variations in Concentration 4.2.1 Dissolved Constituents 4.3 Sediment and Contaminant Loads 4.3.1 Load Estimation 4.3.2 The Effective Transporting Discharge 4.4 Summary 4.5 Suggested Readings 5 The Channel Bed - Contaminant Transport and Storage 5.1 Introduction 5.2 Sediment Transport 5.2.1 Modes of Transport 5.2.2 Channelized Flow 5.2.3 Entrainment 5.3 Dispersal Processes 5.3.1 Hydraulic Sorting 5.3.2 Dilution and Exchange with the Floodplain 5.3.3 Sediment Storage and Exchange Mechanisms 5.3.4 Geochemical Processes and Biological Uptake 5.4 Downstream Patterns 5.5 Deposition and Storage along a Reach 5.5.1 Channel Patterns 5.5.2 Trace Metal Partitioning Mechanisms 5.5.3 Implications to Sampling 5.6 Physical and Mathematical Manipulations 5.7 Temporal Variations in Concentration 5.8 Summary 5.9 Suggested Readings 6 Floodplains 6.1 Introduction 6.2 Floodplains: Definition 6.3 The Formative Processes 6.4 Floodplain Sediments 6.4.1 Floodplain Deposits 6.5 Trace Metal Storage and Distribution 6.5.1 Grain Size Variations 6.5.2 Residence Time and Deposit Age 6.5.3 Sediment Mixing and Homogenization 6.5.4 Post-Depositional Processes 6.6 Overbank Sediments 6.6.1 Depositional Rates and Patterns 6.6.2 Geographical Patterns in Contaminant Concentrations 6.6.3 Documenting Pollution Histories 6.7 Sediment and Contaminant Source Determination 6.7.1 Non-point Source Multivariate Fingerprinting Methods 6.7.2 Isotopic Tracing Methods 6.8 Physical Remobilization 6.8.1 Bank Erosion Processes 6.9 Summary 6.10 Suggested Readings 7 River Metamorphosis 7.1 Introduction 7.2 The Balanced Condition 7.3 Thresholds, Complex Response, and Process Linkages 7.4 Adjustments in Channel Gradient, Shape, and Pattern 7.5 Effects of River Metamorphosis 7.6 Terraces 7.6.1 Definition and Formative Processes 7.6.2 Trace Metal Distributions 7.7 Quantifying Extent and Magnitude of Contamination 7.8 Summary 7.9 Suggested Readings 8 Remed

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