Occurrence of arsenic in core sediments and groundwater in the Chapai-Nawabganj District, northwestern Bangladesh

A. H.M. Selim Reza, Jiin Shuh Jean, Huai Jen Yang, Ming Kuo Lee, Brian Woodall, Chia Chuan Liu, Jyh Fu Lee, Shang De Luo

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70 Citations (Scopus)


Groundwater and core sediments of two boreholes (to a depth of 50 m) from the Chapai-Nawabganj area in northwestern Bangladesh were collected for arsenic concentration and geochemical analysis. Groundwater arsenic concentrations in the uppermost aquifer (10-40 m of depth) range from 2.8 μg L-1 to 462.3 μg L-1. Groundwater geochemical conditions change from oxidized to successively more reduced, higher As concentration with depth. Higher sediment arsenic levels (55 mg kg-1) were found within the upper 40 m of the drilled core samples. X-ray absorption near-edge structure spectroscopy was employed to elucidate the arsenic speciation of sediments collected from two boreholes. Environmental scanning electron microscopy and transmission X-ray microscopy were used to investigate the characteristics of FeOOH in sediments which adsorb arsenic. In addition, a pH-Eh diagram was drawn using the Geochemist's Workbench (GWB) software to elucidate the arsenic speciation in groundwater. The dominant groundwater type is Ca-HCO3 with high concentrations of As, Fe and Mn but low levels of NO3- and SO42-. Sequential extraction analysis reveals that Mn and Fe hydroxides and organic matter are the major leachable solids carrying As. High levels of arsenic concentration in aquifers are associated with fine-grained sediments. Fluorescent intensities of humic substances indicate that both groundwater and sediments in this arsenic hotspot area contain less organic matter compared to other parts of Bengal basin. Statistical analysis clearly shows that As is closely associated with Fe and Mn in sediments while As is better correlated with Mn in groundwater. These correlations along with results of sequential leaching experiments suggest that reductive dissolution of MnOOH and FeOOH mediated by anaerobic bacteria represents an important mechanism for releasing arsenic into the groundwater.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2021-2037
Number of pages17
JournalWater Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Mar

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecological Modelling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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