Abstract

Knowledge of the solid-phase speciation of As in Bengali sediments associated with hazardous As-rich groundwaters is crucial to understanding the processes controlling As release. The local coordination environment of As in such a sediment has been probed using K-edge As EXAFS. This revealed that As exists predominantly in its oxidized form, As(V), probably adsorbed as bidentate arsenate tetrahedra on metal (Fe and/or Al) oxide/hydroxide surfaces, although incorporation of As into a metal oxide structure cannot be ruled out. Arsenic was found to occur in several different coordination environments and this, together with the low concentration (<10 μg g−1) of As in the sediment prevented the unambiguous assignment of the second coordination sphere. The EXAFS analysis of the sediment after incubation under anaerobic conditions in the presence of added electron donor for metal reduction indicated changes in the relative concentrations of different solid-phase As species, providing circumstantial evidence for differential susceptibility to microbial action.

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