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# Role of Oxidation/Reduction in Water Bodies

## To understand the changes in chemicals/nutrients, it is essential to know the

oxidation and reduction chemistry of species in the water bodies.

## Hg, HgCH 3 +, and Hg(CH 3 ) 2

Methyl Mercury (both forms) is much more toxic than mercury metal;

## Remember: Oxidation states

Hydrogen is always +1

Oxygen is always -2

## Look at Nitrogen, Sulfur, Carbon

N 2 , NH 3 , NO 3 -, NO 2 , NO, NO 2 -, H 2 S, S,

## Oxidation is defined as the loss of electrons

The hydrogen is defined to be zero and everything is relative to this standard.

The more positive the potential, the greater the tendency for the reaction to proceed as
written.

∆G0 = -nFE 0

## ∆G0 = -2.303 nRT pE

Since we do not know about ALL of the species present in any particular sample of
natural water, we can not write the arrive any balanced redox reaction that suppose to
occur.

pE = -log a e-

## According to the Nerst’s Equation:

Low pE is reducing

## Figure 1. Different Nitrogen in the Natural Environment

pE diagrams tell us the most thermodynamic stable form in certain water environments.

## The common forms of nitrogen in the aqueous environment are:

Transformations between these nitrogen oxidation states are managed by the
following equations:
Table 2. Apply this data to construct a pE/pH Diagram for Nitrogen (in water):

Boundry pH pE

O 2 /H 2 O 0 20.75

O 2 /H 2 O 10 10.75

H 2 /H 2 O 0 0

H 2 /H 2 O 10 -10

NO 3 -/NO 2 - 0 14.15

NO 3 -/NO 2 - 10 4.15

NO 3 -/NH 4 + 0 14.90

NO 3 -/NH 4 + 10 2.40

NO 2 -/NH 4 + 0 15.14

NO 2 -/NH 4 + 10 1.81
Figure 2. pE/pH Diagram for Nitrogen (N-O-H System)

## What about the presence of Carbon in aqueous system?

Figure 3. pH-pE Diagram for Nitrogen, Sulfur and Carbon