Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 63, Issue 5, pp 955–967 | Cite as

Interrelationship of TOC, As, Fe, Mn, Al and Si in shallow alluvial aquifers in Chapai-Nawabganj, Northwestern Bangladesh: implication for potential source of organic carbon

  • A. H. M. Selim Reza
  • Jiin-Shuh Jean
  • Ming-Kuo Lee
  • Shang-De Luo
  • Jochen Bundschuh
  • Hong-Chun Li
  • Huai-Jen Yang
  • Chia-Chuan Liu
Original Article


Two boreholes and ten piezometers in the Ganges flood plain were drilled and installed for collecting As-rich sediments and groundwater. Groundwater samples from the Ganges flood plain were collected for the analysis of cations (Ca2+, Mg2+, K+, Na+), anions (Cl, NO3 , SO4 2−), total organic carbon (TOC), and trace elements (As, Mn, Fe, Sr, Se, Ni, Co, Cu, Mo, Sb, Pb). X-ray powder diffraction was performed to characterize the major mineral contents of aquifer sediments and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) to analyze the major chemical composition of alluvial sediments. Results of XRF analysis clearly show that fine-grained sediments contain higher amounts of trace element because of their high surface area for adsorption. Relative fluorescence index (15–38 QSU) of humic substance in groundwater was measured using spectrofluorometer, the results revealed that groundwater in the Ganges flood plain contains less organic matter (OM). Arsenic concentration in water ranges from 2.8 to 170 μg/L (mean 50 μg/L) in the Ganges flood plain. Arsenic content in sediments ranges from 2.1 to 14 mg/kg (mean 4.58 mg/kg) in the flood plains. TOC ranges from 0.49 to 3.53 g/kg (mean 1.64 g/kg) in the Ganges flood plain. Arsenic is positively correlated with TOC (R 2 = 0.55) in sediments of this plain. Humic substances were extracted from the sediments from the Ganges flood plain. Fourier transform infrared analysis of the sediments revealed that the plain contains less humic substances. The source of organic carbon was assigned from δ13C values obtained using elemental analysis-isotope ratio mass spectrometry (EA-IRMS); the values (−10 to −29.44‰) strongly support the hypothesis that the OM of the Ganges flood plain is of terrestrial origin.


Arsenic Organic matter Bangladesh Ganges flood plain Spectrofluorometer 



The authors thank the National Science Council of Taiwan for the financial support of this research (NSC98-2627-M-006-004).


  1. Ahmed KM, Burgess WG (1995) Bils and Barind aquifer, Bangladesh. In: Brown AG (ed) Geomorphology and groundwater. Wiley, New York, pp 143–155Google Scholar
  2. Ahmed KM, Bhattacharya P, Hasan MA, Akhter SH, Alam SMM, Bhuyian MAH, Imam MB, Khan AA, Sracek O (2004) Arsenic enrichment in groundwater of the alluvial aquifers in Bangladesh: an overview. Appl Geochem 19:181–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anawar HM, Akai J, Komaki K, Terao H, Yoshioka T, Ishizuka T, Safiullah S, Kato K (2003) Geochemical occurrence of arsenic in groundwater of Bangladesh: sources and mobilization processes. J Geochem Explor 77:109–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bertrand P, Lallier-Verges E, Grall H (1991) Organic petrology of Neogene sediments from North Indian Ocean (Leg 117): amount, type, and preservation of organic matter. In: Prell WL, Niitsuma N et al (eds) Proceedings of the ocean drilling program, science results, pp 587–594. Ocean Drilling Program, College StationGoogle Scholar
  5. BGS and DPHE (2001) Arsenic contamination of groundwater in Bangladesh, vol 2. Final report, BGS technical report WC/00/19Google Scholar
  6. Bibi MH, Ahmed F, Ishiga H (2006) Distribution of arsenic and other trace elements in the Holocene sediments of the Meghna River Delta, Bangladesh. Environ Geol 50:1243–1253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cochran JR, Stow DAV, Auroux C, Amano K, Balson PS, Boulegue JJ, Brass GW, Corrigan J, Gartner S, Hall S, Iaccarino S, Ishizuka T (1989) Leg 116 distal Bengal fan. In: Proceedings of the ocean drilling program, initial reports, vol 116, pp 388. Ocean Drilling Program, College StationGoogle Scholar
  8. Collister JW, Rieley G, Stern B, Eglinton G, Fry B (1994) Compound-specific δ13C analyses of leaf lipids from plants with differing carbon dioxide metabolisms. Org Geochem 21(6–7):619–627CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Das D, Samanta G, Mandal BK, Chowdhury TR, Chanda CR, Chowdhury PP, Basu GK, Chakraborti D (1996) Arsenic in groundwater in six districts of West Bengal, India. Environ Geochem Health 18:5–15Google Scholar
  10. Derry LA, France-Lanord C (1996) Neogene Himalayan weathering history and river 87Sr/86Sr: impact on the marine Sr record. Earth Planet Sci Lett 142(1–2):59–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Eglinton G, Hamilton RJ (1967) Leaf epicuticular waxes. Science 156(780):1322–1335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. France-Lanord C, Derry LA (1994) δ13C of organic carbon in the Bengal fan: source evolution and transport of C3 and C4 plant carbon to marine sediments. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 58:4809–4814CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Freeman KH, Colarusso LA (2001) Molecular and isotopic records of C4 grassland expansion in the late Miocene. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 65:1439–1454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Galy A, France-Lanord C (2001) Higher erosion rates in the Himalaya: geochemical constraints on riverine fluxes. Geology 29:23–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Galy V, France-Lanord C, Beyssac O, Faure P, Kudrass H, Palhol F (2007) Efficient organic carbon burial in the Bengal fan sustained by the Himalayan erosional system. Nature 450:407–410CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Glynn PD, Plummer LN (2005) Geochemistry and the understanding of ground-water systems. Hydrogeol J 13:263–287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hasan MA, Ahmed KM, Sracek O, Bhattacharya P, von Brömssen M, Broms S, Fogelström J, Mazumder ML, Jacks G (2007) Arsenic in shallow groundwater of Bangladesh: investigations from three different physiographic settings. Hydrogeol J 15:1507–1522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hedges JI, Keil RG (1995) Sedimentary organic matter preservation: an assessment and speculative synthesis. Mar Chem 49:81–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kuwatsuka S, Watanabe A, Itoh K, Arai S (1992) Comparison of two methods of preparation of humic and fulvic acids, IHSS method and NAGOYA method. Soil Sci Plant Nutr 38:23–30Google Scholar
  20. Meharg AA, Scrimgeour C, Hossain SA, Fuller K, Cruickshank K, Williams PN, Kinniburgh DG (2006) Codeposition of organic carbon and arsenic in Bengal Delta aquifers. Environ Sci Technol 40:4928–4935CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Meyers PA, Dickens GR (1992) Accumulation of organic matter in sediments of the Indian Ocean: a synthesis of results from scientific deep sea drilling. In: Duncan RA, Rea DK, Kidd RB, von Rad U, Weissel JK (eds) Synthesis of results from scientific drilling in the Indian Ocean. Geophysical monograph. American Geophysical Union, pp 295–309Google Scholar
  22. Miano TM, Senesi N (1992) Synchronous excitation fluorescence spectroscopy applied to soil humic substances chemistry. Sci Total Environ 117(118):41–51Google Scholar
  23. Nagao S, Matsunaga T, Suzuki Y, Ueno T, Amano H (2003) Characteristics of humic substances in the Kuji River waters as determined by high-performance size exclusion chromatography with fluorescence detection. Water Res 37:4159–4170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Nickson RT, McArthur JM, Ravenscroft P, Burgess WG, Ahmed KM (2000) Mechanism of arsenic release to groundwater, Bangladesh and West Bengal. Appl Geochem 15:403–413Google Scholar
  25. Niemayer J, Chen Y, Bollag JM (1992) Characterization of humic acids, composts, and peat by diffuse reflectance fourier-transformed infrared spectroscopy. Soil Sci Soc Am J 56:135–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ohkouchi N, Kawamura K, Taira A (1997) Molecular paleoclimatogy: reconstruction of climate variabilities in the late Quaternary. Org Geochem 27(3–4):173–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ohno K, Furukawa A, Hayashi K, Kamei T, Magara Y (2005) Arsenic contamination of groundwater in Nawabganj, Bangladesh, focusing on the relationship with other metals and ions. Water Sci Technol 52:87–94Google Scholar
  28. Peters KE, Moldowan JM (1993) The biomarker guide: interpreting molecular fossils in petroleum and ancient sediments. Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, p 361Google Scholar
  29. Polizzotto ML, Kocar BD, Benner SG, Sampson M, Fendorf S (2008) Near-surface wetland sediments as a source of arsenic release to ground water in Asia. Nature 454:505–508CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Poynter J, Eglinton G (1990) Molecular composition of three sediments from Hole 717c: the Bengal Fan. In: Cochran JR, Stow DAV et al. (eds) Proceedings of the ocean drilling program, science results, pp 155–161. Ocean drilling program, College StationGoogle Scholar
  31. Reza AHMS, Jean J-S, Yang H-J, Lee M-K, Woodal B, Liu C-C, Lee J-F, Luo S-D (2010a) Occurrence of arsenic in core sediments and groundwater in the Chapai-Nawabganj District, northwestern Bangladesh. Water Res 44:2021–2037Google Scholar
  32. Reza AHMS, Jean J-S, Lee, M-K, Liu C-C, Bundschuh J, Yang H-J, Lee, J-F, Lee, Y-C (2010b) Implications of organic matter on arsenic mobilization into groundwater: evidence from northwestern (Chapai-Nawabganj), central (Manikganj) and southeastern (Chadpur) Bangladesh. Water Res. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2010.09.004
  33. Reza AHMS, Jean J-S, Yang H-J, Lee M-K, Hsu H-F, Liu C-C, Lee Y-C, Bundschuh J, Liu K-H, Lee C-Y (2010c) A comparative study on arsenic and humic substances in alluvial aquifers of Bengal delta plain (NW Bangladesh), Chianan palin (SW Taiwan), and Lanyang plain (NE Taiwan): implication of arsenic mobilization mechanisms. Environ Geochem Health. doi: 10.1007/s10653-010-9335-5
  34. RSP (1996) Spatial representation and analysis of hydraulic and morphological data. Report No. FAP 24, WARPO, DhakaGoogle Scholar
  35. Saha SK, Kumar U, Rahman M (2009) An assessment of groundwater chemistry of Barind Tract in Bangladesh with special reference to carbonate weathering. Asian J Water Environ Pollut 6:51–58Google Scholar
  36. Saunders JA, Lee M-K, Uddin A, Mohammad S, Wilkin RT, Fayek M, Korte NE (2005) Natural arsenic contamination of Holocene alluvial aquifers by linked tectonic, weathering, and microbial processes. Geochem Geophys Geosyst 6. doi: 10.1029/2004GC000803
  37. Shamsudduha M, Uddin A, Saunders JA, Lee MK (2008) Quaternary stratigraphy, sediment characteristics and geochemistry of arsenic-contaminated alluvial aquifers in the Ganges–Brahmaputra floodplain in central Bangladesh. J Contam Hydrol 99:112–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Stollenwerk KG, Breit GN, Welch AH, Yount JC, Whitney JW, Foster AL, Uddin MN, Majumder, RK, Ahmed, N (2007) Arsenic attenuation by oxidized aquifer sediments in Bangladesh. Sci Total Environ 379:133–150Google Scholar
  39. Wagai R, Mayer LM (2007) Sorptive stabilization of organic matter in soils by hydrous iron oxides. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 71:25–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Zheng Y, van Geen A, Gavrieli A, Dhar R, Simpson J, Ahmed KM (2004) Redox control of arsenic mobilization in Bangladesh groundwater. Appl Geochem 19:201–214Google Scholar
  41. Zolotov YA, Ivanov VM, Amelin VG (2002) Test methods for extra-laboratory analysis. Trends Analyt Chem 21:302–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. H. M. Selim Reza
    • 1
  • Jiin-Shuh Jean
    • 1
  • Ming-Kuo Lee
    • 2
  • Shang-De Luo
    • 1
  • Jochen Bundschuh
    • 3
    • 1
  • Hong-Chun Li
    • 1
  • Huai-Jen Yang
    • 1
  • Chia-Chuan Liu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesNational Cheng Kung UniversityTainanTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Geology and GeographyAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Applied ResearchUniversity of Applied SciencesKarlsruheGermany

Personalised recommendations