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Acidification of Freshwater Resources

Surface Water Hydrology

  1. Walter H. Geller

Published Online: 15 APR 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047147844X.sw16

Water Encyclopedia

Water Encyclopedia

How to Cite

Geller, W. H. 2005. Acidification of Freshwater Resources. Water Encyclopedia. 3:7–13.

Author Information

  1. UFZ, Dept. of Inland Water Research, Magdeburg, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2005


All freshwater resources, groundwaters, lakes, and rivers, can be acidified. Inland waters receive acid inputs via the atmospheric path and by direct inflows from surface runoff and from groundwaters. Sources of acids are smoke from burning of fossil combustibles and from volcanoes, acidic wastewater from industrial plants, geogenic acids from weathering of sulfidic deposits at their natural sites, or from oxidation of sulfides with/after mining ores, hard coal, and lignite. Accordingly, the acid inputs into ground- and surface waters are either distributed by acid rain over long ranges and large areas, or they are restricted to local impacts by draining of mines, dumps, or sulfidic natural deposits. Both pathways are found in active volcanoes regionally releasing volatile acids into the atmosphere and being direct, local sources of highly mineralized acidic brines. Last but not least, freshwaters can be directly acidified by inflows of industrial wastewater. The effect of acidic inputs is larger in soft water because of the low content of ions and low buffering capacity.


  • acidification;
  • acid mine drainage;
  • acid rain;
  • geogenic acidification;
  • volcanic acidification;
  • acid lake;
  • acid river;
  • crater lake;
  • mining lake;
  • pit lake;
  • remediation;
  • neutralization;
  • liming;
  • active treatment;
  • passive treatment;
  • insitu remediation