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Geochemistry of Trace Elements in the Bolivian Altiplano: Effects of natural processes and anthropogenic activities
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering. Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, Instituto de Investigaciones Químicas. (International Groundwater Arsenic Research Group)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1974-474X
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 [en]
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: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-145537ISBN: 978-91-7595-177-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-145537DiVA: diva2:719095
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
List of papers
1. Sources and behavior of arsenic and trace elements in groundwater and surface water in the Poopó Lake Basin, Bolivian Altiplano
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sources and behavior of arsenic and trace elements in groundwater and surface water in the Poopó Lake Basin, Bolivian Altiplano
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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.

Keyword
Altiplano, Arsenic, Bolivia, Drinking water quality, Groundwater, Hydrochemistry, Mobilization, Trace elements
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-96040 (URN)10.1007/s12665-011-1288-1 (DOI)000304624100010 ()2-s2.0-84861182279 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20120531Available from: 2012-05-31 Created: 2012-05-30 Last updated: 2015-05-29Bibliographically approved
2. Hydrochemical characteristics of groundwater and surface water in the mining region of Antequera and Poopó, Eastern Cordillera, Bolivian Altiplano
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hydrochemical characteristics of groundwater and surface water in the mining region of Antequera and Poopó, Eastern Cordillera, Bolivian Altiplano
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-145627 (URN)
Note

QS 2014

Available from: 2014-05-23 Created: 2014-05-23 Last updated: 2014-05-23Bibliographically approved
3. Geochemical processes controlling mobilization of arsenic and trace elements in shallow aquifers and surface waters in the Antequera and Poopó mining regions, Bolivian Altiplano
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Geochemical processes controlling mobilization of arsenic and trace elements in shallow aquifers and surface waters in the Antequera and Poopó mining regions, Bolivian Altiplano
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2014 (English)In: Journal of Hydrology, ISSN 0022-1694, E-ISSN 1879-2707, Vol. 518, no C, 421-433 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A geochemical approach was applied to understand the factors controlling the mobilization of As and trace elements (TEs) in mining areas of the Poopó and Antequera River sub-basins on the Bolivian Altiplano. A total of 52 samples (surface, groundwater and geothermal water) were collected during the rainy season (2009). Arsenic, Cd and Mn concentrations exceed World Health Organization (WHO) drinking water guidelines and Bolivian regulations for drinking water in 28 groundwater samples, but Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn do not. Arsenic, Cd, Mn, Pb and Zn concentrations exceed World Health Organization guidelines for drinking water and Bolivian regulations Class A standard for discharge to water bodies in 20 surface water samples, whereas levels of Cu do not, and Ni and Fe rarely exceed regulation and guideline values. Factor analysis was applied to 18 hydrochemical parameters of 52 samples. Five factors for groundwater (plagioclase weathering, dissolution of gypsum and halite, TEs mobilization at acidic pH, sulfide oxidation, and release of As) account for 86.5% of the total variance for Antequera and 83.9% for Poopó sub-basins. Four factors for surface water data (weathering and mobilization of TEs influenced by pH, dissolution of evaporate salts, neutralization of acid mine drainage, and As release due to dissolution of Mn and Fe oxides) account for 91% of the total variance in Antequera and 96% in Poopó sub-basins. The As and TEs mobilized in these regions could affect the local water sources, which is a prevalent concern with respect to water resource management in this semi-arid Altiplano region. Presence of both natural and anthropogenic sources of contamination requires careful monitoring of water quality.

Keyword
Arsenic, Bolivian Altiplano, Groundwater, Poopó basin, Surface water, Trace elements
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-145629 (URN)10.1016/j.jhydrol.2014.08.019 (DOI)000345061200012 ()2-s2.0-84908193817 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, 7500707606
Note

QC 20150114. Updated from manuscript to article in journal.

Available from: 2014-05-23 Created: 2014-05-23 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
4. Total and available trace elements concentrations in soils and evaluation of uptake by crops in the mining area of the Bolivian Altiplano
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Total and available trace elements concentrations in soils and evaluation of uptake by crops in the mining area of the Bolivian Altiplano
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-145630 (URN)
Note

QS 2014

Available from: 2014-05-23 Created: 2014-05-23 Last updated: 2014-05-23Bibliographically approved
5. Fractionation of heavy metals and assessment of contamination of the sediments of Lake Titicaca
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Fractionation of heavy metals and assessment of contamination of the sediments of Lake Titicaca
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2013 (English)In: Environmental Monitoring & Assessment, ISSN 0167-6369, E-ISSN 1573-2959, Vol. 185, no 12, 9979-9994 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Chemical weathering is one of the major geochemical processes that control the mobilization of heavy metals. The present study provides the first report on heavy metal fractionation in sediments (8-156 m) of Lake Titicaca (3,820 m a.s.l.), which is shared by the Republic of Peru and the Plurinational State of Bolivia. Both contents of total Cu, Fe, Ni, Co, Mn, Cd, Pb, and Zn and also the fractionation of these heavy metals associated with four different fractions have been determined following the BCR scheme. The principal component analysis suggests that Co, Ni, and Cd can be attributed to natural sources related to the mineralized geological formations. Moreover, the sources of Cu, Fe, and Mn are effluents and wastes generated from mining activities, while Pb and Zn also suggest that their common source is associated to mining activities. According to the Risk Assessment Code, there is a moderate to high risk related to Zn, Pb, Cd, Mn, Co, and Ni mobilization and/or remobilization from the bottom sediment to the water column. Furthermore, the Geoaccumulation Index and the Enrichment Factor reveal that Zn, Pb, and Cd are enriched in the sediments. The results suggest that the effluents from various traditional mining waste sites in both countries are the main source of heavy metal contamination in the sediments of Lake Titicaca.

Keyword
Enrichment factor, Heavy metals, Lake Titicaca, Sediments, Sequential extraction, Risk Assessment Code
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-137455 (URN)10.1007/s10661-013-3306-0 (DOI)000326397900025 ()2-s2.0-84890120754 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20131217

Available from: 2013-12-17 Created: 2013-12-13 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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Ramos Ramos, Oswaldo Eduardo

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