Current and recent projects
Over the weekend of 5 - 6 December 2015 the
most intense rainfall ever recorded in the UK fell over parts of
Cumbria, peaking at 341 mm over a 24 hour period at Honister Pass,
resulting in widespread flooding. The nearby Coledale Beck
catchment contains the UK’s flagship metal mine water treatment
facility at the abandoned Pb-Ba mine Force Crag and has been
subjected to substantial former metal pollution (e.g. Zn and
Cd). Given long-term water and sediment quality monitoring
data are already held for this catchment, the project aims to
investigate how such extreme rainfall events change the
whole-system dynamics of metal and sediment cycling in such upland
river catchments. This is important not only for assessing
the long term fate and risk of mining-derived metal pollutants, but
also to assess the resilience of mine water treatment systems to
such extremes. The project is led by Dr Adam Jarvis
(Newcastle), with support from Dr Andy Large and Dr Matt Perks
are produced by various globally important industries, such as
steel making and alumina refining. These residues are usually
enriched in various trace elements vital to modern-day technologies
that are becoming more attractive to recover given dwindling
project is bringing together geochemists, policy experts,
ecologists and systems analysts to bring about a new approach to
how we manage these residues.
This will see the development of novel, biologically-mediated
processes to enhance recovery of metals from these residues, while
at the same time ensuring this approach does not lead to any
negative impacts on the environment.
Source apportionment tools for non coal mines (Defra 2012-2015
with Adam Jarvis, Newcastle University)
Abandoned mines are an enduring source of metal pollution to our
rivers. Up to half of the known emissions of cadmium, lead
and zinc to the streams and rivers of England and Wales come from
long abandoned metal mines (see here). This project is providing
the basis for improved monitoring of these mine-impacted catchments
to better inform regulators as to how to manage these polluting
discharges. We will develop new GIS databases with an inventory of
polluting point and diffuse metal sources, as well as modelling
tools to aid clear interpretation of metal source and transport
patterns in affected rivers. This will help identify the mine
sites where remedial efforts are likely to yield the biggest
benefits in terms of the length of streams and rivers that can be
cost-effectively cleaned up.
Restoration of quarry lagoons for wading birds (PI: Phil
Wheeler, Co-I: Sue Hull: Heidelberg Cement, Birdlife International,
Hanson Aggregates, 2013-2016)
This project builds on the success of our pilot project at
Wykeham Quarry in North Yorkshire where we assessed the constraints
on the establishment of wader populations in aggregate quarry silt
ponds. This project won the UK Quarry Life Award (and was third in
the global Quarry Life Award contest!). The new project aims
to trial restoration measures for encouraging wading bird
populations at active quarry sites, while also looking at the
broader habitat potential at aggregate quarries in north west
Contamination and pollutant attenuation downstream of the
Kolontár red mud impoundment failure, Hungary (NERC Urgency,
S&T Facilities Council, 2010-2012)
pollution event caused by the breach of a dam containing red mud (a
by-product of bauxite ore processing for alumina manufacture) at
Kolontár in Hungary received widespread international media
attention in early October 2010. This is the first event of its
type and scale in Europe.
Our work has undertaken a detailed assessment of the extent of
impacts and nature of key contaminants present in downstream waters
We are also undertaking longer term experiments to assess the
mobility of key contaminants (e.g. arsenic, chromium and vanadium)
deposited in different riparian environments.
For more information on project findings please see publications
and the following links:
NERC Planet Earth:
Chemical Engineering News:
The work is being undertaken in collaboration with Newcastle
University (Dr Adam Jarvis), the Budapest
University of Technology and Economics (Associate Professor
Katalin Gruiz), the University of Leeds (Dr Ian Burke) and
Oxford University (Dr Phil Renforth).
The following papers are available at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/William_Mayes?ev=hdr_xprf
Riley AL, Mayes WM (2015) Long term evolution of
highly alkaline steel slag drainage waters. Environmental
Monitoring and Assessment, 187: 1-16.
Lockwood CL, Stewart DI, Mortimer RJG, Mayes
WM, Jarvis AP, Gruiz K, Burke IT (2015) Leaching of copper
and nickel in soil-water systems contaminated by bauxite residue
from Ajka (Hungary): the importance of soil organic matter.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Accepted, in
Jones A., Rogerson M, Greenway G. and Mayes WM
(2015) Zinc uptake from circum-neutral mine drainage in freshwater
biofilms: new insights from in-vivo experiments. Mine Water and
the Environment. Accepted, in press.
Younger PL, Mayes WM (2015) The potential use
of exhausted open pit mine voids as sinks for atmospheric CO2:
insights from natural reedbeds and mine water treatment wetlands.
Mine Water and the Environment. 34:
Lockwood CL, Mortimer RJG, Stewart DI, Mayes
WM, Peacock CL, Polya DA, Lythgoe PR, Lehoux AP, Gruiz K,
Burke IT (2014) Effects of red mud addition to soil-water systems
on biogeochemical processes and arsenic behaviour. Applied
Geochemistry, 51, 268-277.
Ánton AD, Klebercz, O., Magyar Á, Jarvis AP, Burke IT, Gruiz K,
Mayes WM (2014) Geochemical recovery of the
Torna–Marcal river system after the Ajka red mud spill, Hungary.
Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts,
Misik M, Burke IT, Reismuller M, Pichler C, Rainer B, Misikova
K, Mayes WM, Knasmueller S. (2014) Red mud
contains soluble vanadium that causes genotoxic effects in higher
plants: a lesson from the Ajka event. Science of the Total
Environment, 493, 883-890.
Hull S, Oty UV, Mayes WM, (2014) Impact of
hyperalkaline steel slag drainage on benthic invertebrate
communities. Hydrobiologia, 736,
Burke IT, Peacock CL, Lockwood CL, Stewart DI, Mortimer RJG,
Ward M, Renforth P, Gruiz K, Mayes WM. (2013)
Sorption behaviour of arsenic and vanadium during the
neutralisation of red mud. Environmental Science &
Technology. 47: 6527-6535.
Mayes WM, Mason CF (2013) Water Pollution
Biology, in Harrison, RM (ed), Pollution: Causes, Effects and
Control, Fifth Edition. RSC Publishing. pp.80-115.
Lehoux A. Lockwood CL, Mayes WM, Stewart DI,
Mortimer RJG, Gruiz K, Burke IT. (2013) Gypsum addition to soils
contaminated by red mud: implications for aluminium, arsenic,
molybdenum and vanadium solubility. Environmental Geochemistry
& Health, 35: 643-656.
Jones A., Rogerson M., Greenway G., Potter HAB. and
Mayes WM. (2013) Mine water geochemistry and metal
flux in a major historic Pb-Zn-F orefield, the Yorkshire Pennines,
UK. Environmental Science & Pollution Research,
Mayes WM, Potter HAB, Jarvis AP. (2013)
Riverine flux of metals from historically mined orefields in the
UK. Water, Air & Soil Pollution, 224:
Klebercz O, Mayes WM, Feigl V, Anton Á, Jarvis
AP, Gruiz K. (2012) Ecotoxicity of fluvial sediments downstream of
the Ajka red mud spill, Hungary. Journal of Environmental
Monitoring, 14: 2063-2071.
Burke IT, Mayes WM, Peacock CL, Brown AP,
Jarvis AP & Gruiz K. (2012) Speciation of arsenic,
chromium and vanadium in red mud samples from the Ajka spill site,
Hungary. Environmental Science & Technology.
46 (6): 3085-3092.
Renforth P, Mayes WM, Jarvis AP, Burke IT,
Manning DAC, Gruiz K. (2012) Contaminant mobility and carbon
sequestration downstream of the Ajka (Hungary) red mud spill: the
effects of gypsum dosing. Science of the Total
Environment. 421-422: 253-259.
Vaht R, Mayes WM, Lund A, (2011) Impact of oil
shale mining on hydrological regimes in northeast Estonia. Mine
Water and the Environment, 30: 284-295
Mayes WM, Davis J, Silva V, Jarvis AP (2011)
Treatment of zinc-rich acid mine water in low residence time
bioreactors incorporating waste shells and methanol dosing.
Journal of Hazardous Materials. 193:
Mayes WM, Jarvis AP, Burke IT, Walton M, Feigl
V, Klebercz O & Gruiz K. (2011) Dispersal and attenuation of
trace contaminants downstream of the Ajka bauxite residue (red mud)
depository failure, Hungary. Environmental Science &
Gozzard E, Mayes WM, Potter HAB & Jarvis AP
(2011) Seasonal and spatial variation of diffuse (non-point) source
zinc pollution in a historically metal mined river catchment, UK.
Environmental Pollution. 159:
Mayes WM & Jarvis AP (2011) Remediation of
aquatic post-industrial inorganic pollutants. In Nriagu JO (ed.)
Encyclopedia of Environmental Health, volume
4, pp. 789–800 Burlington: Elsevier.
Mayes WM, Potter HAB & Jarvis AP. (2010)
Inventory of aquatic contaminant flux arising from historical
non-coal mining in England and Wales. Science of the Total
Environment. 408: 3576-3585.
Mayes WM, Johnston D, Potter HAB & Jarvis
AP (2009) A national strategy for identification, prioritisation
and management of pollution from abandoned non-coal mine sites in
England and Wales. I. Methodology development and initial results.
Science of the Total Environment, 407:
Mayes WM, Aumônier J & Jarvis AP (2009)
Preliminary evaluation of a constructed wetland for treating
extremely alkaline (pH 12) steel slag drainage. Water Science
& Technology, 59: 2253-2263.
Mayes WM, Batty LC, Younger PL, Jarvis AP, Kõiv
M, Vohla C & Mander Ü (2009) Wetland treatment at extremes of
pH – a review. Science of the Total Environment,
Mayes WM, Potter HAB & Jarvis AP (2009)
Novel approach to zinc removal from circum-neutral mine waters
using pelletised recovered ochre. Journal of Hazardous
Materials. 162: 512-520.
Mayes WM, Younger PL & Aumônier J (2008)
Hydrogeochemistry of alkaline steel slag leachates in the UK.
Water, Air & Soil Pollution, 195:
Mayes WM, Gozzard E, Potter HAB & Jarvis AP
(2008) Quantifying the importance of diffuse minewater pollution in
a historically heavily coal mined catchment, Environmental
Pollution, 151: 165-175.
Large ARG, Mayes WM, Newson MD & Parkin G
(2007) Using long term monitoring of fen hydrology and vegetation
to underpin wetland restoration strategies. Applied Vegetation
Science, 10: 417-428
Mayes WM, Younger PL & Aumônier J (2006)
Buffering of alkaline steel slag leachate across a natural wetland.
Environmental Science & Technology,
Mayes WM, Walsh CL, Bathurst JC, Kilsby CK,
Quinn PF, Wilkinson ME, Daugherty AJ & O’Connell PE (2006)
Monitoring a flood event in a densely instrumented catchment, the
Upper Eden, Cumbria, UK. Water and Environment Journal.
Mayes WM, Large ARG & Younger PL (2005) The
impact of pumped water from a de-watered Magnesian limestone quarry
on an adjacent wetland. Environmental Pollution,