Arsenic contamination, speciation and environmental consequences in the Bolivian plateau

Quintanilla, J. and Ramos, O. and Ormachea, M. and Garcia, M. E. and Medina, H. and Thunvik, R. and Bhattacharya, P. and Bundschuh, J. (2009) Arsenic contamination, speciation and environmental consequences in the Bolivian plateau. In: Natural arsenic in groundwaters of Latin America. Arsenic in the Environment, 1. Taylor & Francis (CRC Press), London, United Kingdom, pp. 91-99. ISBN 9780415407717


There are no comprehensive studies of geogenic arsenic (As) contamination of water resources and its human impact in Bolivia. A few studies have been conducted in the historic
mining areas of the Bolivian plateau, where acid water drainage (locally known as copagira) from active and abandoned sites has caused extensive contamination of rivers and soils. This chapter describes As and heavy metal contamination of surface water, groundwater and soils in the Poopó and Uru Uru basins and the Uyuni salt pan in western Bolivia, which are generally attributed to past
mining of silver and gold associated with sulfides of Fe, Cu, Cd, Zn, Pb, As and Co. Concentrations of As and Cd at the sites close to mining areas are much higher than in reference areas. Without exception, the rivers that drain mining areas into Poopó lake are chemically contaminated. Some rivers are acid, with a pH of around 3, and polluted with heavy metals and As at concentrations 10 to 100 times aboveWHOguidelines. Such concentration ranges are also observed in the suspended solid concentrations.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Agricultural, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2014 01:13
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2016 02:31
Uncontrolled Keywords: arsenic; contamination; environmental consequences; Bolivia
Fields of Research : 05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment
04 Earth Sciences > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040603 Hydrogeology

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