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Authors: Petrini, R. 
Slejko, F. 
Lutman, A. 
Pison, S. 
Franceschini, G. 
Zini, L. 
Italiano, F. 
Galic, A. 
Title: Natural arsenic contamination in waters from the Pesariis village, NE Italy
Issue Date: 2011
Series/Report no.: /62(2011)
DOI: 10.1007/s12665-010-0541-3
Keywords: As pollution
Subject Classification03. Hydrosphere::03.02. Hydrology::03.02.06. Water resources 
Abstract: High arsenic (As) concentrations, [900 lg/L, were measured in Ca–Mg–SO4 waters from springs and drainages in the village of Pesariis in the Carnic Alps (NE Italy). Oxidation of the outcropping arsenian marcasite ore deposits of the area is proposed as the mechanism for As release into oxygenated waters during runoff. Nevertheless, the limited extension of the ore deposit and the relatively low As content of the mineralization suggest that sulfide weathering might not be the only process responsible for the highest As concentration in groundwaters. An additional mechanism involves As adsorption onto ferric iron particulate during oxidation, the drawdown in reducing environment at depth during water infiltration, and the release of ferrous iron and sorbed arsenic to the water columns by reductive dissolution of hydrous ferric oxides (HFO). This yields the observed Fe–As correlation. Newly formed HFO precipitates when groundwaters discharge to aerated conditions, leading to the removal of As, which strongly partitions into the iron-rich sediments, adsorbed onto the surface of amorphous Fe2O3 xH2O. The calculated and measured As concentration in sediments exceeds 10% by weight. Furthermore, geochemical and isotopic data indicate that the As-rich reservoir partly mixes with shallower aquifers, commonly tapped for drinking supply, representing a natural hazard for inhabitants.
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