Journal of Hazardous Materials, Vol.262, 915-923, 2013
Arsenic mobilization in the aquifers of three physiographic settings of West Bengal, India: Understanding geogenic and anthropogenic influences
A comparative hydrogeochemical study was carried out in West Bengal, India covering three physiographic regions, Debagram and Chakdaha located in the Bhagirathi-Hooghly alluvial plain and Baruipur in the delta front, to demonstrate the control of geogenic and anthropogenic influences on groundwater arsenic (As) mobilization. Groundwater samples (n = 90) from tube wells were analyzed for different physico-chemical parameters. The low redox potential (Eh=-185 to -86 mV) and dominant As(III) and Fe(II) concentrations are indicative of anoxic nature of the aquifer. The shallow (<100 m) and deeper (>100 m) aquifers of Bhagirathi-Hooghly alluvial plains as well as shallow aquifers of delta front are characterized by Ca2+-HCO3- type water, whereas Na+ and Cl- enrichment is found in the deeper aquifer of delta front. The equilibrium of groundwater with respect to carbonate minerals and their precipitation/dissolution seems to be controlling the overall groundwater chemistry. The low SO42- and high DOC, PO43- and HCO3- concentrations in groundwater signify ongoing microbial mediated redox processes favoring As mobilization in the aquifer. The As release is influenced by both geogenic (i.e. geomorphology) and anthropogenic (i.e. unsewered sanitation) processes. Multiple geochemical processes, e.g., Fe-oxyhydroxides reduction and carbonate dissolution, are responsible for high As occurrence in groundwaters. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.