We investigated the role of iron (Fe) on arsenic (As) release from two samples of a natural deep soil collected in an aquifer body in the Emilia-Romagna Region, Italy. Each sample is representative of a different solid matrix, i.e., sand and vegetal matter. Batch experiments were performed by applying alternating aerobic/anaerobic conditions to the samples under a range of redox and pH conditions, consistent with the corresponding values measured in the field. Arsenic mobilization was triggered by abrupt and rapid changes in redox conditions and displayed a clear correlation with oxidation/reduction potential for both solid matrices. Vegetal matter showed high binding capacity and large As concentration release. Arsenic release was also correlated with Fe released from the solid matrices. Our results suggest that the environmentally critical As concentrations detected in some aquifers in the Emilia-Romagna Region are consistent with (a) the occurrence of high natural As content in the component of the host porous medium associated with vegetal matter and (b) the effect of possible sharp localized (and temporally oscillating) variations in redox conditions.

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Published on 01/01/2013

DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.11.093
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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