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Arsenic in groundwater of the Paraiba do Sul delta, Brazil: An atmospheric source?

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      Abstract

      High concentrations of arsenic (>50μg L(-1)) have been detected for the first time in groundwater of the wave-dominated Paraiba do Sul delta, Brazil. The deltaic shallow groundwater aquifer is enriched in arsenic fixed by authigenic sulfides. A study of palynomorphs confirmed that aquifer sediments were formed in inter-dune lakes/swamps lately covered by eolian sands. The organic sediments of contemporaneous inter-dune lake/swamp contain very high concentration of As: up to 180mg kg(-1) and 163μg L(-1) in dry gyttja material and interstitial water, respectively. The As in recent lake/swamp sediments is retained by iron hydroxides in upper and probably by sulfides in lower layers. In the absence of connection of inter-dune lakes/swamps with fluvial currents, the atmospheric input of As could be considered as the principal source in sediments. The calculation demonstrates the possibility of high concentrations of As accumulation in sediments of inter-dune lakes/swamps from atmospheric precipitations within several centuries before they will be covered by eolian sands and turned into shallow aquifer. Considering the commonalities of wave-dominated delta formations, we can predict more prevalent As accumulation in delta plain groundwater.

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      Author and article information

      Affiliations
      [1 ] Federal University of Rio Grande, Oceanography Institute, Brazil. Electronic address: dgeonmir@furg.br.
      [2 ] Federal University of Rio Grande, Oceanography Institute, Brazil.
      Journal
      Sci. Total Environ.
      The Science of the total environment
      1879-1026
      0048-9697
      Jun 1 2014
      : 482-483
      24642100
      S0048-9697(14)00332-5
      10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.02.138
      Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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