E3S Web Conf.
Volume 98, 201916th International Symposium on Water-Rock Interaction (WRI-16) and 13th International Symposium on Applied Isotope Geochemistry (1st IAGC International Conference)
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Section||Water-Rock Interaction Controlling Water Quality and Human Health Issues|
|Published online||07 June 2019|
Role of unsaturated soil above a heavily contaminated aquifer in the natural attenuation of arsenic
IPICYT, Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica, División de Geociencias Aplicadas, Camino a la Presa San José No 2055, Col. Lomas 4a sec., San Luis Potosí 78216, SLP, Mexico
2 Departamento de Geología, Universidad de Sonora, Rosales y Encinas s/n, Col. Centro, Hermosillo 83000, Sonora, Mexico
3 School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure & Society, Heriot-Watt University. Water Academy, EGIS 2.02A William Arrol Building, EH14 4AS Scotland, United Kingdom
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Large attenuation of arsenic is observed in a shallow aquifer in central Mexico, where the concentration decreases from 91.5 to 11.3 mg/L, over 1.3 km horizontal distance. To investigate possible mechanisms of attenuation of this pollutant, we dug a pit between the surface and the saturated zone. We then described the soil profile and determined arsenic and iron concentrations in soil samples as a function of depth. Next, we determined particle size distribution, bulk density, particle density, soil moisture and porosity of the soil material. We also analyzed arsenic concentration in the groundwater. The 2.2 m deep profile intersected 4 soil horizons (A, AB, B1 and B2). We found arsenic accumulation in the B2 horizon, directly overlying the saturated zone. These accumulations coincide with the thickness of the capillary fringe, revealing that arsenic is drawn up in the soil profile by capillary rise of arsenic-contaminated groundwater. Furthermore, arsenic accumulation showed a direct relationship with iron, likely due to arsenic adsorption on iron oxides. Results from this study contribute to understanding a capillary-driven natural attenuation mechanism that removes contaminants from groundwater by sinking them in the capillary fringe.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2019
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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