State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2007MT163B
Title: Student Fellowship: A Proposal for Research on In-situ Subsurface Microbial Transformation of Selenium as Source Control in Backfilled Phosphate Overburden, SE Idaho
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2007
End Date: 2/28/2008
Congressional District: At large
Focus Categories: Treatment, Water Quality, Nutrients
Keywords: selenium; phospate; microbes
Principal Investigator: Kirk, Lisa Bithell
Federal Funds: $ 2,400
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 0
Abstract: Executive Summary. My dissertation research focuses on subsurface microbial transformation of selenium (Se) in backfilled phosphate mine wastes in SE Idaho. Se release associated with weathering of mine wastes has been recognized as a threat to human health and the environment at numerous mine sites, affecting water quality not only in Idaho but also in Montana and other states. Abandoned mines in the Garrison district of Montana produced phosphate from the same section of the Phosphoria Formation that is currently mined in SE Idaho (MT DEQ, 2006), and Se release from waste rock at the closed Beal Mountain gold mine near Fairmont, MT is also a management concern (Backus, 2006). At high rates of exposure, Se is known to be toxic to the nervous and circulatory systems, and is therefore regulated in both surface water and groundwater.

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