Skip to main content

Assessment of background levels and pollution sources for arsenic and fluoride in the phreatic and confined groundwater of Xi’an city, Shaanxi, China

We’re sorry, something doesn't seem to be working properly.

Please try refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, please contact support so we can address the problem.

Abstract

The presence of arsenic and fluoride in groundwater and their impacts on human health have been reported in many countries worldwide, but little information is available on As or F contamination in Xi’an city. This study highlights the distribution and sources of As and F anomalies in different aquifers of Xi’an city, based on the assessment of natural background levels (NBLs) and threshold values (TVs). Groundwater samples collected from phreatic and confined aquifers were analyzed to evaluate NBLs and TVs, using median  + 2MAD, Tukey inner fence (TIF), and percentile-based methods. Results showed that NBLs and TVs of As and F in the phreatic aquifer were lower than those in the confined aquifer, indicating importance of the geological effects on the enrichment of arsenic and fluoride in the confined aquifer. Combined with hydrogeochemical methods, the distributions of As and F anomalies show that high concentrations of As in both aquifers and F in the confined aquifer can be attributed to the upward flow of geothermal water through faults and ground fissures, while high concentrations of F in the phreatic aquifer may be greatly influenced by contaminated rivers. Although geological structures such as faults and ground fissures contribute to the high concentrations of potentially toxic elements, anthropogenic activities cannot be ignored because over exploitation of groundwater accelerates the development of ground fissures and results in the upward flow and mixing of geothermal water with groundwater in the upper aquifers.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6

References

  1. Alarcon-Herrera MT, Bundschuh J, Nath B, Nicolli HB, Gutierrez M, Reyes-Gomez VM, Nunez D, Martin-Dominguez IR, Sracek O (2013) Co-occurrence of arsenic and fluoride in groundwater of semi-arid regions in Latin America: genesis, mobility and remediation. J Hazard Mater 262:960–969

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Ander EL, Johnson CC, Cave MR, Palumbo-Roe B, Nathanail CP, Lark RM (2013) Methodology for the determination of normal background concentrations of contaminants in English soil. Sci Total Environ 454-455:604–618

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Armienta MA, Segovia N (2008) Arsenic and fluoride in the groundwater of Mexico. Environ Geochem Health 30:345–353

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bian J, Tang J, Zhang L, Ma H, Zhao J (2012) Arsenic distribution and geological factors in the western Jilin province, China. J Geochem Explor 112:347–356

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Biddau R, Cidu R, Lorrai M, Mulas MG (2017) Assessing background values of chloride, sulfate and fluoride in groundwater: a geochemical-statistical approach at a regional scale. J Geochem Explor 181:243–255

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Borzi GE, Garcia L, Carol ES (2015) Geochemical processes regulating F-, as and NO3-content in the groundwater of a sector of the Pampean Region, Argentina. Sci Total Environ 530-531:154–162

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Brahman KD, Kazi TG, Afridi HI, Naseem S, Arain SS, Ullah N (2013) Evaluation of high levels of fluoride, arsenic species and other physicochemical parameters in underground water of two sub districts of Tharparkar, Pakistan: a multivariate study. Water Res 47:1005–1020

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Chen J, Wu H, Qian H, Gao Y (2016) Assessing nitrate and fluoride contaminants in drinking water and their health risk of rural residents living in a semiarid region of Northwest China. Exposure and Health 9:183–195

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Cruz JV, Andrade C (2015) Natural background groundwater composition in the Azores archipelago (Portugal): a hydrogeochemical study and threshold value determination. Sci Total Environ 520:127–135

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Ducci D, Sellerino M (2012) Natural background levels for some ions in groundwater of the Campania region (southern Italy). Environ Earth Sci 67:683–693

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Ground Water Daughter Directive (GWDD) (2006) Directive 2006/118/EC, Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of12 December 2006 on the protection of groundwater against pollution and deterioration, OJ L372, 27 Dec 2006, 1931

  12. Howard KWF, Zhou W (2019) Overview of ground fissure research in China. Environ Earth Sci 78:97

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. ISO (International Organization for Standardization) (2005): Soil quality—guidance on the determination of background values. International Standard ISO 19258: 2005(E) 24

  14. Kumar M, Das A, Das N, Goswami R, Singh UK (2016a) Co-occurrence perspective of arsenic and fluoride in the groundwater of Diphu, Assam, Northeastern India. Chemosphere 150:227–238

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Kumar M, Das N, Goswami R, Sarma KP, Bhattacharya P, Ramanathan AL (2016b) Coupling fractionation and batch desorption to understand arsenic and fluoride co-contamination in the aquifer system. Chemosphere 164:657–667

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Kürzl H (1988) Exploratory data analysis: recent advances for the interpretation of geochemical data. J Geochem Explor 30:309–322

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Li YT (1985) On the distribution and sources of arsenic enrichment in deep confined water of Xi’an. Groundwater 2:25–27 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  18. Li P, Qian H, Wu J, Chen J, Zhang Y, Zhang H (2013) Occurrence and hydrogeochemistry of fluoride in alluvial aquifer of Weihe River, China. Environ Earth Sci 71:3133–3145

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Lopez DL, Bundschuh J, Birkle P, Armienta MA, Cumbal L, Sracek O, Cornejo L, Ormachea M (2012) Arsenic in volcanic geothermal fluids of Latin America. Sci Total Environ 429:57–75

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Matschullat J, Ottenstein R, Reimann C (2000) Geochemical background can we calculate it? Environ Geol 39:990–1000

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Mikkonen HG, Clarke BO, Dasika R, Wallis CJ, Reichman SM (2017) Assessment of ambient background concentrations of elements in soil using combined survey and open-source data. Sci Total Environ 580:1410–1420

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Ministry of Health of PRC, Standardization Administration of PRC (2006): Standard examination methods for drinking water (GB/T5750-2006). Standards Press of China: Beijing, China. (In Chinese)

  23. Ministry of Land and Resources of the People’s Republic of China, Ministry of Water Resources of the People’s Republic of China (2017) Standard for groundwater quality (GB/T 14848-2017). Standards Press of China, Beijing, China (In Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  24. Molinari A, Guadagnini L, Marcaccio M, Guadagnini A (2012) Natural background levels and threshold values of chemical species in three large-scale groundwater bodies in northern Italy. Sci Total Environ 425:9–19

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Morgenstern U, Daughney CJ, Leonard G, Gordon D, Donath FM, Reeves R (2015) Using groundwater age and hydrochemistry to understand sources and dynamics of nutrient contamination through the catchment into Lake Rotorua, New Zealand. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 19:803–822

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Niu CX, Luo KL, Li HJ, Wang X, Ma ZY (2008) The arsenic content and source of the drinking water around of Xi’an. Northwest Geol 41(3):124–129 (In Chinese)

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. Parrone D, Ghergo S, Preziosi E (2019) A multi-method approach for the assessment of natural background levels in groundwater. Sci Total Environ 659:884–894

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Peng JB (2015) Ground fissure in Xi’an. Science Press, Beijing (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  29. Peng JB, Huang QB, Hu ZP, Wang MX, Li T, Men YM, Fan W (2017) A proposed solution to the ground fissure encountered in urban metro construction in Xi’an, China. Tunn Undergr Space Technol 61:12–25

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Pi K, Wang Y, Xie X, Su C, Ma T, Li J, Liu Y (2015) Hydrogeochemistry of co-occurring geogenic arsenic, fluoride and iodine in groundwater at Datong Basin, northern China. J Hazard Mater 300:652–661

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Preziosi E, Parrone D, Del Bon A, Ghergo S (2014) Natural background level assessment in groundwaters: probability plot versus pre-selection method. J Geochem Explor 143:43–53

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Reimann C, de Caritat P (2017) Establishing geochemical background variation and threshold values for 59 elements in Australian surface soil. Sci Total Environ 578:633–648

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Reimann C, Filzmoser P, Garrett RG (2005) Background and threshold: critical comparison of methods of determination. Sci Total Environ 346:1–16

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Reimann C et al (2018) GEMAS: establishing geochemical background and threshold for 53 chemical elements in European agricultural soil. Appl Geochem 88:302–318

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Shahid M, Niazi NK, Dumat C, Naidu R, Khalid S, Rahman MM, Bibi I (2018) A meta-analysis of the distribution, sources and health risks of arsenic-contaminated groundwater in Pakistan. Environ Pollut 242:307–319

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Sridharan M, Nathan DS (2018) Chemometric tool to study the mechanism of arsenic contamination in groundwater of Puducherry region, South East coast of India. Chemosphere 208:303–315

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Sun GN, Wu XJ (2005) Space-time change analysis of groundwater pollution in Xi’an City from 1985 to 2003. J Shaanxi Normal Univ (Natural Science Edition) 33(2):110–114 (in Chinese)

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  38. Wang X (2005): The occurrence and development of geothermal resources in Weihe Basin. Shaanxi Science and technique press, Xi’an (in Chinese)

  39. Wang SX, Wang ZH, Cheng XT, Li J, Sang ZP, Zhang XD, Han LL, Qiao XY, Wu ZM, Wang ZQ (2007) Arsenic and fluoride exposure in drinking water: children’s IQ and growth in Shanyin county, Shanxi province, China. Environ Health Perspect 115:643–647

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Wang Z, Guo H, Xiu W, Wang J, Shen M (2018) High arsenic groundwater in the Guide basin, northwestern China: distribution and genesis mechanisms. Sci Total Environ 640-641:194–206

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Wendland F, Berthold G, Blum A, Elsass P, Fritsche JG, Kunkel R, Wolter R (2008) Derivation of natural background levels and threshold values for groundwater bodies in the Upper Rhine Valley (France, Switzerland and Germany). Desalination 226:160–168

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Xie X, Wang Y, Ellis A, Liu C, Duan M, Li J (2014) Impact of sedimentary provenance and weathering on arsenic distribution in aquifers of the Datong basin, China: constraints from elemental geochemistry. J Hydrol 519:3541–3549

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Zhang H, Zhou X, Wang L, Wang W, Xu J (2018) Concentrations and potential health risks of strontium in drinking water from Xi’an, Northwest China. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 164:181–188

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Funding

This work was financially supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (41572236); the Public Welfare Fund Project of the Ministry of Water Resources (201301084); Investigation and evaluation of environmental hydrogeology in Xi’an (211529180149); and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, CHD (300102298712). Their support is gratefully recognized.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hui Qian.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Responsible editor: Severine Le Faucheur

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Gao, Y., Qian, H., Wang, H. et al. Assessment of background levels and pollution sources for arsenic and fluoride in the phreatic and confined groundwater of Xi’an city, Shaanxi, China. Environ Sci Pollut Res 27, 34702–34714 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-06791-7

Download citation

Keywords

  • Arsenic
  • Fluoride
  • Natural background values
  • Threshold values
  • Geological structures
  • Xi’an