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Selenium pollution of lakes near the smelters at Sudbury, Ontario

Nature volume 301, pages 5557 (06 January 1983) | Download Citation

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Abstract

Mining and smelting of Cu–Ni ores at Sudbury, Ontario, release about 2 tonnes of Se to the environment per day. We show here that within a 30-km radius of Sudbury, the Se concentrations in the lake waters range from 0.1 to 0.4 µg l−1; the Se contents of the suspended particulates in the lakes vary from 2 to 6 µg per g. The Se profiles in the lake sediments generally parallel the history of Cu–Ni production in the district. The present-day rates of Se accumulation in the sediments are found to be 0.3–12 mg m−2 yr−1. These current deposition rates exceed those of precolonial times by factors of 3–18, and are among the highest recorded anywhere in North America.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. National Water Research Institute, Box 5050, Burlington, Ontario, Canada L7R 4A6

    • Jerome O. Nriagu
    •  & Henry K. Wong

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https://doi.org/10.1038/301055a0

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