Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 31, Supplement 1, pp 23–43 | Cite as

Groundwater chemistry and arsenic mobilization in the Holocene flood plains in south-central Bangladesh

  • Prosun Bhattacharya
  • M. Aziz Hasan
  • Ondra Sracek
  • Euan Smith
  • K. Matin Ahmed
  • Mattias von Brömssen
  • S. M. Imamul Huq
  • Ravi Naidu
Original Paper


A comparative study of arsenic enrichment in the Bengal Delta (BD) was carried out in three alluvial aquifers in south-central Bangladesh. Investigated sites included Sonargaon in Narayanganj, Chandina in Comilla and Sirajdikhan in Munshiganj districts. At all sites samples from different depths were collected, and water chemistry and redox status vs. depth trends were determined. The concentrations of DOC and HCO3 were highest at Sirajdikhan site, while at the Sonargaon and Chandina sites the concentrations were lower. On the contrary, the NH4 + concentration was high at the Chandina site as compared to the other sites. There was a good match between dissolved As and Fe at the Sirajdikhan and Sonargaon sites, but not at the Chandina site. The dissolved aqueous concentration of Mn was low at the Chandina site, which suggested that the Mn(IV) redox buffering step was missing. Speciation modeling indicated a possibility of siderite precipitation at all sites, but precipitation of rhodochrosite only at the Sonargaon and Sirajdikhan sites. At the Sirajdikhan site, the log \( {\text{P}}_{{{\text{CO}}_{ 2} }} \) values were very high (−1.37), which revealed the production of CO2 in redox processes. Principal component analysis (PCA) indicated an impact of sea water and redox status of different samples. These results suggest that the dissolved As is de-coupled from dissolved Mn because when released, As is re-adsorbed onto the Fe(III) minerals in solid phase, as well as from dissolved Fe when precipitation of Fe(II) minerals controls the aqueous concentrations of Fe. In addition, several other concurrent redox processes may exert kinetic constraints depending on refractory characteristics of Fe(III) minerals.


Groundwater Bangladesh Arsenic Redox buffering Speciation Precipitation of secondary minerals 



This study was carried out as a part of a research project funded by the Australian Council of International Agricultural Research and the CSIRO’s Contaminated Land and Water Environments Program at Adelaide, South Australia. PB thanks the CSIRO for providing the necessary funds for the field work in Bangladesh in January 2002 and the other infrastructural facilities. PB also acknowledges the financial assistance from the Swedish Research Council (VR) in the form of a travel grant, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida-SAREC) and Swedish Research Council (VR-Sida), Swedish Asia Research Link Program through research grants SWE-1998-193 and 348-2003-4963, respectively, on the genesis of high-As groundwaters of Bangladesh. OS was partly supported by the grant MSM0021622412 of the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. The authors would like to thank Anisur Rahman (Dhaka University) and Gary Owens (CSIRO) for the field work and Lester Smith and Julie Smith for the laboratory analyses at the chemical laboratory of CSIRO Land and Water.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Prosun Bhattacharya
    • 1
  • M. Aziz Hasan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ondra Sracek
    • 3
  • Euan Smith
    • 4
  • K. Matin Ahmed
    • 2
  • Mattias von Brömssen
    • 1
  • S. M. Imamul Huq
    • 5
  • Ravi Naidu
    • 4
  1. 1.KTH-International Groundwater Arsenic Research Group, Department of Land and Water Resources EngineeringRoyal Institute of Technology (KTH)StockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of GeologyUniversity of DhakaDhakaBangladesh
  3. 3.Institute of Geological Sciences, Faculty of ScienceMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  4. 4.Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment & Remediation (CERAR)University of South AustraliaMawson LakesAustralia
  5. 5.Department of Soil, Water and EnvironmentUniversity of DhakaDhakaBangladesh

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