, Volume 387, Issue 2, pp 627-635
Date: 14 Dec 2006

Analytical speciation as a tool to assess arsenic behaviour in soils polluted by mining

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A study is performed to evaluate the occurrence of arsenic in polluted soils using acidic extractions and liquid chromatography–hydride generation–atomic fluorescence spectrometry (LC–HG–AFS) for speciation analysis. Seven soil samples were collected in an abandoned area polluted by mining in the Eastern Pyrenees (Spain), and two uncontaminated soils were taken for reference purposes. Moreover, the total arsenic content is evaluated in two different sieved fractions in order to obtain information on the possible particle-size-dependent association of arsenic with soil components. Soil samples were extracted with both phosphoric and ascorbic acids and the stabilities of the extracted species were studied. The arsenic species were determined by LC–HG–AFS. In addition, the ability of soil grinding to effect species change is also assessed. Arsenite and arsenate were found in the polluted soils, but only arsenate was found in the unpolluted soils. The quality of the results was assessed through a mass balance calculation and by analysing two soil Certified Reference Materials. Valuable information regarding arsenic occurrence in the studied soils is obtained from the speciation results. The presence of arsenite in the extracts can be attributed to arsenopyrite residues, whereas the presence of arsenate indicates release from weathered material.


Abandoned mining polluted area in Eastern Pyrenees