Geochemical assessment of arsenic contamination in well water and sediments from several communities in the Nawalparasi District of Nepal

Akiko Nakano, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Uddin Md Shamim, Masakazu Tani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Arsenic contamination of well water is a serious issue in the Nawalparasi District of the Terai region in Nepal. A local investigation was carried out on 137 tube wells in 24 communities of the district in December 2011. The investigation revealed that the average arsenic concentration in the tube wells was 350 μg/L, and that nearly 98 % of the wells exceeded the WHO guideline arsenic level limit of 10 μg/L. Highly contaminated well water, with more than 400 μg/L of arsenic, was found within the limited depth ranges of 18–22 and 50–80 m. High arsenic levels exceeding 500 μg/L were detected in shallower wells at Patkhauli, Mahuawa, Thulokunwar, and Goini located between 27.517° and 27.543°N and between 83.648° and 83.748°E. Boring sampling at five communities of Kashiya, Goini, Sanokunwar, Thulokunwar, and Mahuawa revealed two aquifers located at the two depths around 14–22 and 41–50 m in each community. Dark gray or black-colored peaty clay layers rich in organic matter were distributed at depths of 18–21 m beside the upper aquifers with high arsenic concentration in each community. Positive correlations were shown between iron and arsenic in the sediments from the five communities. It can be inferred that these results were caused by dissolution of iron-oxyhydroxide molecules with arsenic from solid phases. Microbial metabolisms have a great potential to induce the dissolution and release arsenic attached on the solid phases into aqueous phases depending on the level of redox potential and pH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3269-3280
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Earth Sciences
Volume72
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 11 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Pollution
  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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