Mobilization and Toxicity Potential of Aluminum from Alum Floc Deposits in Kensico Reservoir, New York

Charles T. Driscoll, Ashley Lee, Mario Montesdeoca, David A. Matthews, Steven W. Effler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


There is detailed literature on the mobilization of aluminum (Al) from soil to surface waters as a result of elevated acidic deposition to base-poor forest watersheds. There is considerably less information on the mobilization and effects of Al from the application of alum that is used in some water supplies to control turbidity during high-flow events. We report on the results of field measurements, laboratory sediment release experiments, and chemical equilibrium calculations conducted to evaluate the potential for the mobilization of Al from alum floc deposits in sediments of Kensico Reservoir, New York. Under ambient water quality conditions, mobilization of sediment Al is not a noteworthy concern at Kensico Reservoir. However, under experimental conditions of low pH, low acid neutralizing capacity (ANC), and low temperature, the inorganic fraction of monomeric Al can be mobilized from Kensico sediments to concentrations that would likely impair the health of aquatic organisms (>2 μmol/l). Elevated concentrations of monomeric Al were observed only when ANC decreased below 50 μeq/l, which is outside the range of values observed in Kensico during the 1997-2007 interval (120-460 μeq/l). Concentrations of complexing ligands are relatively low in Kensico waters (i.e., fluoride, naturally occurring organic solutes) and do not appear to substantially contribute to potential Al mobilization. For other water supplies with low ANC, the potential for sediment release of Al may exist.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-152
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Water Resources Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Acid neutralizing capacity
  • Alum
  • Aluminum mobilization
  • Water supply

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


Dive into the research topics of 'Mobilization and Toxicity Potential of Aluminum from Alum Floc Deposits in Kensico Reservoir, New York'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this