Elevated As concentrations in shallow groundwater in parts of the Tulare Basin, California, are a concern because of potential migration into deeper aquifers that could serve as a source of future drinking water. The objectives of this study were to evaluate adsorbed As and the potential contribution to groundwater using (i) isotopic dilution, (ii) successive extraction with an electrolyte solution resembling the pore-water chemical composition, and (iii) PO4 exchange for As. Sediment samples collected from 2 to 4 m below land surface in the Tulare Lake bed area contained a total As concentration of 24 mg As kg-1. Pore water extracted under hydraulic pressure contained a total As concentration of 590 ??g As L-1, which predominantly contained As as arsenate [As(V), 97%], a minor amount of arsenite [As(III), 3%], and non-detectable organic As. The isotopic dilution method [73As(V)] estimated that the concentration of adsorbed As(V) on the sediment was 5.7 mg As kg-1 at pH 8.5 and 6.7 mg As kg-1 at pH 7.5, respectively. Fourteen successive 24-h extractions with the artificial pore water released up to 57 to 61% of the adsorbed As(V) that was determined by isotopic dilution, indicating that only a portion of the adsorbed As could be released to groundwater. The phosphate-exchangeable As (0.1 M PO4, pH 8.5 or 7.5) was 63% of the isotopically exchangeable As(V). Thus, extraction of As by 0.1 M PO4 at ambient pHs is recommended as a method to determine the potential amount of As(V) on sediments that could be released to the solution phase. The overall results indicated that adsorbed As could be a significant source of As to groundwater. However, other factors that affect As transport such as the leaching rate need to be considered.
Additional publication details
Evaluation of Adsorbed Arsenic and Potential Contribution to Shallow Groundwater in Tulare Lake Bed Area, Tulare Basin, California