Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 185, Issue 3, pp 2395–2406 | Cite as

Evaluation of surface water quality in aquatic bodies under the influence of uranium mining (MG, Brazil)

  • Suzelei Rodgher
  • Heliana de Azevedo
  • Carla Rolim Ferrari
  • Cláudio Vítor Roque
  • Leilane Barbosa Ronqui
  • Michelle Burato de Campos
  • Marcos Roberto Lopes Nascimento


The quality of the water in a uranium-ore-mining area located in Caldas (Minas Gerais State, Brazil) and in a reservoir (Antas reservoir) that receives the neutralized acid solution leaching from the waste heaps generated by uranium mining was investigated. The samples were collected during four periods (October 2008, January, April and July 2009) from six sampling stations. Physical and chemical analyses were performed on the water samples, and the data obtained were compared with those of the Brazilian Environmental Standards and WHO standard. The water samples obtained from waste rock piles showed high uranium concentrations (5.62 mg L−1), high manganese values (75 mg L−1) and low average pH values (3.4). The evaluation of the water quality at the point considered the limit between the Ore Treatment Unit of the Brazilian Nuclear Industries and the environment (Consulta Creek) indicated contamination by fluoride, manganese, uranium and zinc. The Antas reservoir showed seasonal variations in water quality, with mean concentrations for fluoride (0.50 mg L−1), sulfate (16 mg L−1) and hardness (20 mg L−1) which were low in January, evidencing the effect of rainwater flowing into the system. The concentrations for fluoride, sulfate and manganese were close or above to the limits established by current legislation at the point where the treated mining effluent was discharged and downstream from this point. This study demonstrated that the effluent discharged by the UTM affected the quality of the water in the Antas reservoir, and thus the treatments currently used for effluent need to be reviewed.


Brazilian reservoir Metals Water pollution Uranium mine 



The authors are grateful to Dr. Ana T. Lombardi for her comments on this work. This study was supported by the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq proc. no. 381412/2008-3) and the State of Minas Gerais Research Aid Foundation (FAPEMIG proc. no APQ-7807-5.04/07).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzelei Rodgher
    • 1
  • Heliana de Azevedo
    • 1
  • Carla Rolim Ferrari
    • 1
  • Cláudio Vítor Roque
    • 1
  • Leilane Barbosa Ronqui
    • 1
  • Michelle Burato de Campos
    • 1
  • Marcos Roberto Lopes Nascimento
    • 1
  1. 1.Poços de Caldas LaboratoryBrazilian Nuclear Energy CommissionPoços de CaldasBrazil

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