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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Heavy Metals in the Environment

Arsenic Remobilization in a Shallow Lake


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 31 No. 3, p. 822-828
    Received: Apr 26, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): linge@cwr.uwa.edu.au
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  1. Kathryn L. Linge * and
  2. Carolyn E. Oldham
  1. Centre for Water Research, Univ. of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy., Crawley, Australia, 6009


Oxic resuspension occurs regularly in shallow lakes, yet its role as a mechanism for contaminant remobilization remains ill defined. This study investigated contaminant remobilization during sediment resuspension and determined whether changes in contaminant sediment partitioning reflected the mechanisms controlling remobilization. Arsenic-contaminated sediment from a shallow wetland was subjected to simulated resuspension under a range of differing initial pH conditions. The effect of resuspension on As partitioning was evaluated using a fractionation scheme targeting the dissolved, ion exchangeable, carbonate, organic, amorphous iron oxide, crystalline iron oxide, and apatite fractions. Rate investigations demonstrated that arsenic remobilization occurred on timescales similar to resuspension events, with concentrations reaching steady state within 24 h. The sediment also buffered slurry pH to 8.3 in experiments where the initial pH was between 4 and 10. This pH regulation was attributed to carbonate dissolution or acid–base equilibria of surface base functional groups, although iron oxide and organic matter dissolution did occur in experiments with an initial pH outside this range. Remobilization caused losses in arsenic associated with the ion exchangeable, organic, and amorphous iron fractions but changes in initial pH have a negligible effect on arsenic remobilization or partitioning within the well-buffered region. Resuspension released approximately 20% of the total sediment arsenic, although calculations indicated that a single resuspension event would not significantly change water column arsenic concentrations. While not conclusively proving the mechanisms of remobilization, fractionation gave valuable insight into the effect of sediment resuspension on contaminant remobilization.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.31:822–828.