Arsenic solubility and redistribution under anoxic conditions in three aquifer sediments from a basin-fill aquifer in Northern Utah: the role of natural organic carbon and carbonate minerals

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Applied Geochemistry




Elsevier Ltd

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The basin-fill aquifers of the Western U.S. contain elevated concentrations of arsenic in the groundwater due to ancient volcanic deposits that host arsenic minerals. Microcosms were constructed using two oxidized sediments and, by contrast, a reduced sediment collected from a shallow basin-fill aquifer in the Cache Valley Basin, Northern Utah to evaluate the fate of geologic arsenic under anoxic conditions. Sequential extractions indicated the primary arsenic host mineral was amorphous iron oxides, but 13%-17% of the total arsenic was associated with carbonate minerals. Arsenic was solubilized from the sediments when incubated with groundwater in the presence of native organic carbon. Arsenic solubilization occurred prior to iron reduction rather than the commonly observed co-reactivity. Arsenic(V) associated with carbonate minerals was the main source of arsenic released to solution and redistributed onto less soluble minerals, including FeS and siderite as defined by chemical extraction. Arsenic reduction occurred only in the site-oxidized sediments. The addition of a carbon and energy source, glucose, resulted in enhanced arsenic solubilization, which was coupled with iron reduction from the site-oxidized sediments. Adding glucose promoted iron reduction that masked the role of carbonate minerals in arsenic solubilization and retention as observed with incubation with groundwater only.

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