Arsenic concentrations exceeding 10 ??g/l, the United States maximum contaminant level and the World Health Organization guideline value, are frequently reported in groundwater from bedrock and unconsolidated aquifers of southeastern Michigan. Although arsenic-bearing minerals (including arsenian pyrite and oxide/hydroxide phases) have been identified in Marshall Sandstone bedrock of the Mississippian aquifer system and in tills of the unconsolidated aquifer system, mechanisms responsible for arsenic mobilization and subsequent transport in groundwater are equivocal. Recent evidence has begun to suggest that groundwater recharge and characteristics of well construction may affect arsenic mobilization and transport. Therefore, we investigated the relationship between dissolved arsenic concentrations, reported groundwater recharge rates, well construction characteristics, and geology in unconsolidated and bedrock aquifers. Results of multiple linear regression analyses indicate that arsenic contamination is more prevalent in bedrock wells that are cased in proximity to the bedrock-unconsolidated interface; no other factors were associated with arsenic contamination in water drawn from bedrock or unconsolidated aquifers. Conditions appropriate for arsenic mobilization may be found along the bedrock-unconsolidated interface, including changes in reduction/oxidation potential and enhanced biogeochemical activity because of differences between geologic strata. These results are valuable for understanding arsenic mobilization and guiding well construction practices in southeastern Michigan, and may also provide insights for other regions faced with groundwater arsenic contamination. ?? Springer-Verlag 2008.
Additional publication details
Influence of groundwater recharge and well characteristics on dissolved arsenic concentrations in southeastern Michigan groundwater