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Sources and behavior of arsenic and trace elements in groundwater and surface water in the Poopó Lake Basin, Bolivian Altiplano
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4350-9950
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2012 (English)In: Environmental Earth Sciences, ISSN 1866-6280, Vol. 66, no 3, 793-807 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Water management in semiarid and arid catchments such as the Poopó Lake Basin requires improved understanding of the complex behavior of the various contaminants, which affect the drinking water quality and considered as crucial for sustainable development of the region. Mechanisms of arsenic (As) release in the surface and groundwater were studied. Hydrochemical data for surface water (4 samples) and groundwater (28 samples) were collected in a small watershed in the Poopó catchment at the highland of the Bolivian Andes (Altiplano). All of them show high electrical conductivity values and moderately oxidizing conditions. The surface water contains high concentration of sulfate and the trace elements As, Zn and Pb in the zone affected by acid mine drainage. There is a large variability of the concentration of As and of the trace elements in the groundwater in the five different regions within the Poopó catchment. The metal concentrations sensitive to changes of redox state and results of speciation modeling suggest that As (V) is a predominant aqueous species, which conforms to the prevailing oxidizing conditions in the shallow groundwater environment. Two generalized trends for As distribution were identified in groundwater: (a) high concentrations are found in the arid zone (100-250 Όg/L) in the southern (region III) and in the northwestern (region V) regions, and (b) low concentrations (< 50 Όg/L) are found in the remaining part of the basin (region I, II and IV). However, the spatial distribution within these regions needs to be investigated further. A conclusion from the present study is that there are multiple sources of As as well as other trace elements (such as Cd, Mn and Zn) in the Poopó Lake Basin. Among the sources and the processes which led to the mobility of As and other trace metals in the region are: (a) weathering of sulfide minerals, (b) oxidation of pyrite and/or arsenopyrite in mineralized areas and (c) desorption from hydrous ferric oxide (HFO) surfaces. In non-mining areas, volcanic ash is suggested to be a significant source of As.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 66, no 3, 793-807 p.
Keyword [en]
Altiplano, Arsenic, Bolivia, Drinking water quality, Groundwater, Hydrochemistry, Mobilization, Trace elements
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-96040DOI: 10.1007/s12665-011-1288-1ISI: 000304624100010Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84861182279OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-96040DiVA: diva2:529714
Note
QC 20120531Available from: 2012-05-31 Created: 2012-05-30 Last updated: 2015-05-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Geochemistry of Trace Elements in the Bolivian Altiplano: Effects of natural processes and anthropogenic activities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Geochemistry of Trace Elements in the Bolivian Altiplano: Effects of natural processes and anthropogenic activities
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The occurrence of As in groundwater in Argentina was known since 1917; however, the occurrence, distribution and mobilization of As and other trace elements (TEs) in groundwater in the Bolivian Altiplano are still quite unknown. An investigation applying a geochemical approach was conducted in the Poopó Basin and Lake Titicaca to understand processes of TEs in different systems such as water, soils, crops and sediments in mining areas.

In Poopó Basin,As, Cd and Mn concentrations exceed World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines and Bolivian regulations for drinking water in different places around the basin, but Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn do not.

In soils, the sequential extraction methods extracted up to 12% (fractions 1 and 2), which represent < 3.1 mg/kg of the total As content, as potentially mobilized fractions, that could be transferred to crops and/or dissolved in hydrologic system. The large pool of As can be attached due to amorphous and crystalline Fe oxide surfaces (fractions 3, 4, and 5) present in the soils.

Furthermore, the concentrations of As, Cd and Pb in the edible part of the crops revealed that the concentrations of As and Cd do not exceed the international regulation (FAO, WHO, EC, Chilean) (0.50 mg/kgfw for As and 0.10 mg/kgfw for Cd), while Pb exceeds the international regulations for beans and potatoes (for beans 0.20 mg/kgfw and for potato 0.10 mg/kgfw).

In the Lake Titicaca, principal component analysis (PCA) of TEs in sediments suggests that the Co-Ni-Cd association can be attributed to natural sources such as rock mineralization, while Cu-Fe-Mn come from effluents and mining activities, whereas Pb-Zn are mainly related to mining activities. The Risk Assessment Code (RAC) indicate “moderately to high risk” for mobilization of Cd, Co, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn, while Cu and Fe indicate “low to moderate risk” for remobilization in the water column.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2014. x, 56 p.
Series
TRITA-LWR. PHD, ISSN 1650-8602 ; 2014:04
Keyword
Arsenic; Bolivian Altiplano; Eastern Cordillera; Trace elements; Surface water and shallow groundwater; Soils and crops.
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Land and Water Resources Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-145537 (URN)978-91-7595-177-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-06-04, Sal V1, Teknikringen 76, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Hydrochemistry: Arsenic and heavy metals in the Lake Poopó Basin (Sida contribution: 7500707606)Catchment Management and Mining Impacts in Arid and semi-arid South America (CAMINAR) (INCO-CT-2006-032539)
Funder
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, 7500707606
Note

QC 20140604

Available from: 2014-05-23 Created: 2014-05-21 Last updated: 2014-05-23Bibliographically approved
2. Hydrogeochemistry of Naturally Occurring Arsenic and Other Trace Elements in the Central Bolivian Altiplano: Sources, mobility and drinking water quality
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hydrogeochemistry of Naturally Occurring Arsenic and Other Trace Elements in the Central Bolivian Altiplano: Sources, mobility and drinking water quality
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Bolivian Altiplano (BA) is a high plateau located in the western part of the country at an altitude of 3,600 to 3,900 meters above sea level and is bordered by the Eastern and Western Cordillera. Within the BA there is a large endorheic hydrologic system linking the Titicaca Lake in the north the Desaguadero River, lakes Uru-Uru and Poopó in the central part; and the Lacajahuira River and Coipasa and Uyuni salt pans in the south. Several mineralized areas, especially in the Eastern Cordillera, have been intensively exploited for centuries for the extraction of silver, gold, and tin from polymetallic sulfide ore deposits. Presently many urban centers are also contributing for an extensive contamination in localized areas; especially the Poopó Lake and some rivers are affected by high loads of wastewater and solid waste, in addition to the release of heavy metals and arsenic (As) due to acid mine drainage.

The presence of As in the BA was known to be related to mining only, but recent studies revealed that As of geogenic origin also contributing to the elevated concentration of As in surface and groundwater. The Poopó Lake basin is characterized by a semiarid climate. Geologic formations predominantly are of volcanic origin and groundwater flow is sluggish in nature. These environmental settings have generated substantially elevated concen- trations of geogenic As and other trace elements in surface and groundwater. Both surface and groundwater used for drinking water have high concentrations of As that by far exceed the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline. The overall objective of the present study has been focused on the determination of the sources and principal mechanisms for mobilization of geogenic As into surface and groundwater of the Poopó Lake basin area. More specifically, this study has determined the spatial distribution and the extent of As contamination in surface and groundwater; chemical composition of surface and groundwater, rock and sediment; major geochemical mechanisms for As mobilization from solid phase to aqueous phases. This study also made an assessment of drinking water quality in rural areas within the Poopó Lake basin.

Arsenic concentration exceeded the WHO guideline and national regulations for drinking water of 10 µg/L in 85% of the samples collected from the area around the Poopó Lake (n=27) and 90% of the samples from the southern part of the lake basin (n=42). Groundwater samples collected from drinking water wells had As concentrations up to 623 µg/L, while samples collected from piezometers had even higher up to 3,497 µg/L. Highest concentration in river water samples was observed 117 µg/L. Alkaline nature of water (median pH 8.3 for groundwater and 9.0 for surface water), predominance of Na-Cl-HCO3 water type and elevated Eh reflecting oxidized character has been revealed by As(V) as the major species in As speciation. Different rock types were analyzed for their As content and the highest concentration of 27 mg/kg was found in a coral limestone sample. In evaporate it was 13 mg and 11 mg As/kg was measured in calcareous sandstone. Elevated concentration of As was also observed in sediment cores collected from two drilling sites; 51 mg/kg in Condo K and 36 mg/kg in Quillacas. Physical and chemical weathering of volcanic rocks, limestone, carbonates and plagioclase minerals enhance the supply of Na+ and HCO3- into solution and as a consequence pH and alkalinity increase, which in turn, favor As desorption from solid mineral surfaces (especially Fe(III) oxyhydr- oxides) and therefore dissolved As in water is increased.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2015. x, 39 p.
Series
TRITA-LWR. PHD, ISSN 1650-8602 ; 2015:03
Keyword
Arsenic; Aquifer; Bolivian Altiplano; Boron; Drinking water quality; Geochemistry; Geogenic; Groundwater; Lithium; Trace Elements
National Category
Geochemistry Geosciences, Multidisciplinary
Research subject
Land and Water Resources Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-168190 (URN)978-91-7595-580-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-06-11, Sal V1, Teknikringen 76, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, 7500707606
Note

QC 20150529

Available from: 2015-05-29 Created: 2015-05-27 Last updated: 2015-05-29Bibliographically approved

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