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Arsenic in ground water of the United States: occurrence and geochemistry

Ground Water

By:
, , ,
DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.2000.tb00251.x

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Abstract

Concentrations of naturally occurring arsenic in ground water vary regionally due to a combination of climate and geology. Although slightly less than half of 30,000 arsenic analyses of ground water in the United States were ≤ 1 µg/L, about 10% exceeded 0 µg/L. At a broad regional scale, arsenic concentrations exceeding 10 µg/L appear to be more frequently observed in the western United States than in the eastern half. Arsenic concentrations in ground water of the Appalachian Highlands and the Atlantic plain generally are very low (≤ 1 µg/L). Concentrations are somewhat greater in the Interior Plains and the Rocky Mountain System, investigations of ground water in New England, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin within the last decade suggest that arsenic concentrations exceeding 10 µg/L are more widespread and common than previously recognized.


Arsenic release from iron oxide appears to be the most common cause of widespread arsenic concentrations exceeding 10 µg/L a ground water. This can occur in response to different geochemical conditions, including release of arsenic to ground water through reaction of iron oxide with either natural or anthropogenic (i.e., petroleum products) organic carbon. Iron oxide also can release arsenic to alkaline ground water, such as that found in some felsic volcanic rocks and alkaline aquifers of the Western United States. Sulfide minerals are both a source and sink for arsenic. Geothermal water and high evaporation rates also are associated with arsenic concentrations ≥ 10g/L in ground and surface water, particularly in the west.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Arsenic in ground water of the United States: occurrence and geochemistry
Series title:
Ground Water
DOI:
10.1111/j.1745-6584.2000.tb00251.x
Volume
38
Issue:
4
Year Published:
2000
Language:
English
Publisher:
Natl Ground Water Assoc
Publisher location:
Westerville, OH, United States
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
589
Last page:
604
Number of Pages:
16