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Geochemical modeling of iron, sulfur, oxygen and carbon in a coastal plain aquifer

Journal of Hydrology

By:
, ,
DOI: 10.1016/S0022-1694(00)00296-1

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Abstract

Fe(III) reduction in the Magothy aquifer of Long Island, NY, results in high dissolved-iron concentrations that degrade water quality. Geochemical modeling was used to constrain iron-related geochemical processes and redox zonation along a flow path. The observed increase in dissolved inorganic carbon is consistent with the oxidation of sedimentary organic matter coupled to the reduction of O2 and SO4/2- in the aerobic zone, and to the reduction of SO4/2- in the anaerobic zone; estimated rates of CO2 production through reduction of Fe(III) were relatively minor by comparison. The rates of CO2 production calculated from dissolved inorganic carbon mass transfer (2.55 x 10-4 to 48.6 x 10-4 mmol 1-1 yr-1) generally were comparable to the calculated rates of CO2 production by the combined reduction of O2, Fe(III) and SO4/2- (1.31 x 10-4 to 15 x 10-4 mmol 1-1 yr-1). The overall increase in SO4/2- concentrations along the flow path, together with the results of mass-balance calculations, and variations in ??34S values along the flow path indicate that SO4/2- loss through microbial reduction is exceeded by SO4/2- gain through diffusion from sediments and through the oxidation of FeS2. Geochemichal and microbial data on cores indicate that Fe(III) oxyhydroxide coatings on sediment grains in local, organic carbon- and SO4/2- -rich zones have localized SO4/2- -reducing zones in which the formation of iron disulfides been depleted by microbial reduction and resulted in decreases dissolved iron concentrations. These localized zones of SO4/2- reduction, which are important for assessing zones of low dissolved iron for water-supply development, could be overlooked by aquifer studies that rely only on groundwater data from well-water samples for geochemical modeling. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.Fe(III) reduction in the Magothy aquifer of Long Island, NY, results in high dissolved-iron concentrations that degrade water quality. Geochemical modeling was used to constrain iron-related geochemical processes and redox zonation along a flow path. The observed increase in dissolved inorganic carbon is consistent with the oxidation of sedimentary organic matter coupled to the reduction of O2 and SO42- in the aerobic zone, and to the reduction of SO42- in the anaerobic zone; estimated rates of CO2 production through reduction of Fe(III) were relatively minor by comparison. The rates of CO2 production calculated from dissolved inorganic carbon mass transfer (2.55??10-4 to 48.6??10-4mmol l-1yr-1) generally were comparable to the calculated rates of CO2 production by the combined reduction of O2, Fe(III) and SO42- (1.31??10-4 to 15??10-4mmol l-1yr-1). The overall increase in SO42- concentrations along the flow path, together with the results of mass-balance calculations, and variations in ??34S values along the flow path indicate that SO42- loss through microbial reduction is exceeded by SO42- gain through diffusion from sediments and through the oxidation of FeS2. Geochemical and microbial data on cores indicate that Fe(III) oxyhydroxide coatings on sediment grains in local, organic carbon- and SO42--rich zones have been depleted by microbial reduction and resulted in localized SO42--reducing zones in which the formation of iron disulfides decreases dissolved iron concentrations. These localized zones of SO42- reduction, which are important for assessing zones of low dissolved iron for water-supply development, could be overlooked by aquifer studies that rely only on groundwater data from well-water samples for geochemical modeling.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Geochemical modeling of iron, sulfur, oxygen and carbon in a coastal plain aquifer
Series title:
Journal of Hydrology
DOI:
10.1016/S0022-1694(00)00296-1
Volume
237
Issue:
3-4
Year Published:
2000
Language:
English
Publisher:
Elsevier Science B.V.
Publisher location:
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
147
Last page:
168
Number of Pages:
22