, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 211–237

Arsenic speciation in marine interstitial water. The occurrence of organoarsenicals

  • K. J. Reimer
  • J. A. Thompson

DOI: 10.1007/BF02182997

Cite this article as:
Reimer, K.J. & Thompson, J.A. Biogeochemistry (1988) 6: 211. doi:10.1007/BF02182997


Arsenic speciation data are presented for pore waters squeezed from some native and anthropogenically influenced sediments.

Ten stations were sampled with a box corer (to 20 cm) at two British Columbia coastal sites that are influenced by mine-tailings discharges. These are Rupert Inlet and Alice Arm as well as their associated systems of Quatsino Sound/Holberg Inlet and Hastings Arm respectively.

Total dissolved arsenic concentrations (ΣAsD) usually exhibited subsurface maxima at 5–10 cm and were generally related to solid phase arsenic (Asp) levels, but there was also a dependence on the nature of the substrate. Tailings exhibited both the lowest (Rupert Inlet) and the highest (Alice Arm) ΣAsD values. Inorganic arsenicals, arsenate (AsV) and arsenite (AsIII) constituted the majority (>90%) of the dissolved species butevery sample contained organoarsenicals. This is the first report of mono-, di- and tri-methylated arsenic species in marine interstitial water.

A strong positive correlation between the sum of the methylarsenic compounds (ΣMeAs) and the total dissolved arsenic (ΣAsD) was found, indicating in situ microbial methylation similar to that observed in non-aquatic systems. Flux values for arsenic at the sediment-water interface suggest that, at present, there is no significant mobilization of arsenic from these mine-derived sediments into the water column.

Key words

arsenic speciation interstitial water organoarsenicals sediment mine-tailings Rupert Inlet Alice Arm 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. J. Reimer
    • 1
  • J. A. Thompson
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. of ChemistryRoyal Roads Military CollegeVictoriaCanada
  2. 2.Institute of Ocean SciencesSidneyCanada

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