Mobility of arsenic in West Bengal aquifers conducting low and high groundwater arsenic. Part II : Comparative geochemical profile and leaching study

Bibhash Nath, Z. Berner, D. Chatterjee, S.B. Mallik, D. Stuben

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    Aquifer sediments from areas of low- and high-As groundwater were characterized mineralogically and geochemically at a field site in the Nadia district of West Bengal, India. Leaching experiments and selective extraction of the sediments were also carried out to understand the release mechanism of As in the sub-surface. The correlation between measured elements (major, minor and trace) from low- and high-As groundwater areas are only significant for As, Fe and Mn. The borehole lithology and percentage of silt and clay fraction demonstrates the dominance of finer sediments in the high-As aquifer. Multivariate analysis of the geochemical parameters showed the presence of four different mineral phases (heavy-mineral fraction, phyllosilicates/biotite/Fe-oxyhydroxides, carbonates and sulphides) in the sediments. Selective extraction of sediment reveals that amorphous Fe-oxyhydroxide acts as a potential sink for As in the sub-surface. The result is consistent with microbially mediated redox reactions, which are controlled in part by the presence of natural organic matter within the aquifer sediments. The occurrences of As-bearing redox traps, primarily formed of Fe- and Mn-oxides/hydroxides, are also important factors that control the release of As into groundwater at the study site.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)996-1011
    JournalApplied Geochemistry
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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