Arsenic and other trace elements in thermal springs and in cold waters from drinking water wells on the Bolivian Altiplano

Ormachea Munoz, Mauricio and Bhattacharya, Prosun and Sracek, Ondra and Ramos Ramos, Oswaldo and Quintanilla Aguirre, Jorge and Bundschuh, Jochen and Maity, Jyoti Prakash (2015) Arsenic and other trace elements in thermal springs and in cold waters from drinking water wells on the Bolivian Altiplano. Journal of South American Earth Sciences , 60. pp. 10-20. ISSN 0895-9811

Abstract

Numerous hot springs and fumaroles occur along the Andes Mountains, in the Bolivian Altiplano, where people use thermal springs for recreational purposes as pools, baths and also for consumption as drinking water and irrigation once it is mixed with natural surface waters; most of these thermal springs emerge from earth surface and flow naturally into the rivers streams which drain further into the Poopó Lake. Physicochemical characteristics of the thermal water samples showed pH from 6.3 to 8.3 with an average of 7.0, redox potential from +106 to +204 mV with an average of +172 mV, temperatures from 40 to 75 °C with an average of 56 °C and high electrical conductivity ranging from 1.8 to 75 mS/cm and averaged 13 mS/cm. Predominant major ions are Na+ and Cl− and the principal water types are 37.5% Na–Cl type and 37.5% Na–Cl–HCO3 type. Arsenic concentrations ranged from 7.8 to 65.3 μg/L and arsenic speciation indicate the predominance of As(III) species. Sediments collected from the outlets of thermal waters show high iron content, and ferric oxides and hydroxides are assumed to be principal mineral phases for arsenic attenuation by adsorption/co-precipitation processes. Arsenic concentrations in cold water samples from shallow aquifers are higher than those in thermal springs (range < 5.6–233.2 μg/L), it is likely that thermal water discharge is not the main source of high arsenic content in the shallow aquifer as they are very immature and may only have a small component corresponding to the deep geothermal reservoir. As people use both thermal waters and cold waters for consumption, there is a high risk for arsenic exposure in the area.


Statistics for USQ ePrint 28489
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Health and Wellbeing
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2016 05:54
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2017 02:34
Uncontrolled Keywords: arsenic; Bolivian Altiplano; hydrochemistry; lithium; thermal springs
Fields of Research : 05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960908 Mining Land and Water Management
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.jsames.2015.02.006
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/28489

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only