Fluoride Action Network

Long term geochemical variation of brines derived from a major phosphogypsum pond of SW Europe.

Source: Elsevier Journal of Environmental Management - Volume 254, 15 January 2020, 109832. [Epub ahead of print] | November 13th, 2019 | Authors: Torres-Sánchez R, Sánchez-Rodas D, Sánchez de la Campa AM, de la Rosa JD.
Location: Spain
Industry type: Phosphate Industry


  • Geochemical variations of brines depend on dilution and evaporation.
  • The recharge with brines generated in the PG stack produces dilution.
  • Highest concentrations are shown in summer, except for F?.
  • The removal of layered salts and brines in summer should be considered.


The chemical evolution of brines resulting from an inactive phosphogypsum pond derived of fertilizer industry located in Huelva (Spain, SW Europe) has been studied based on a weekly sampling from 2014 to 2017. Long-range time variation of metals and ions concentrations in brines are expected to depend on environmental parameters such as rainfall and evaporation. The results show that brines are enriched in F (1.7–2.0 g/l), Cl (13–24 g/l), SO42- (7.2–9.3 g/l), V (70–128 mg/l) and U (55–98 mg/l). A great variation of chemical concentrations has been found, due to dilution, recharge and evaporation processes. Most of the elements show peak concentrations in summer, coinciding with the lowest pH values (<1), high conductivity (>133 mS/cm), and high evaporation rates as expected. Nonetheless, F? shows an opposite behaviour, varying its concentrations between 0.9 g/l in summer and 3.7 g/l in the rainy season. According to the results, a future restoration plan for PG ponds should include the removal of brines and layered salts during summer in order to avoid the annual generation of brines and their impact on the environment.