Arsenic distribution along different hydrogeomorphic zones in parts of the Brahmaputra River Valley, Assam (India)
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The spatial distribution of arsenic (As) concentrations along three classified hydrogeomorphological zones in the Brahmaputra River Valley in Assam (India) have been investigated: zone I, comprising the piedmont and alluvial fans; zone II, comprising the runoff areas; and zone III, comprising the discharge zones. Groundwater (150 samples) from shallow hand-pumped and public water supply wells (2â€“60Â m in depth) was analysed for chemical composition to examine the geochemical processes controlling As mobilization. As concentrations up to 0.134Â mg/L were recorded, with concentrations below the World Health Organization and the Bureau of Indian Standards drinking-water limits of 0.01Â mg/L being found mainly in the proximal recharge areas. Eh and other redox indicators (i.e., dissolved oxygen, Fe, Mn and As) indicate that, except for samples taken in the recharge zone, groundwater is reducing and exhibits a systematic decrease in redox conditions along the runoff and discharge zones. Hydrogeochemical evaluation indicated that zone I, located along the proximal recharge areas, is characterized by low As concentration, while zones II and III are areas with high and moderate concentrations, respectively. Systematic changes in As concentrations along the three zones support the view that areas of active recharge with high hydraulic gradient are potential areas hosting low-As aquifers.
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