Role of soil physicochemical characteristics on the present state of arsenic and its adsorption in alluvial soils of two agri-intensive region of Bathinda, Punjab, India

Abstract

Purpose

Arsenic (As) contamination of groundwater has received significant attention recently in district Bathinda, due to consequent health risk in this region. Soil is the one of the primary medium for arsenic transport to groundwater. Thus, there is an essential requirement for understanding the retention capacity and mobility of arsenic in the soils to ensure sustainability of the groundwater in the locality. Arsenic interaction with various physicochemical properties of soil would provide a better understanding of its leaching from the soil.

Materials and methods

Fifty-one soil samples were collected from two regions of Bathinda district with extensive agricultural practices, namely, Talwandi Sabo and Goniana. The soils were analyzed for arsenic content and related physicochemical characteristic of the soil which influence arsenic mobility in soil. Adsorption studies were carried out to identify the arsenic mobilization characteristic of the soil. SEM-EDX and sequential extraction of arsenic adsorbed soil samples affirmed the arsenic adsorption and its mobility in soil, respectively. Multiple regression models have been formulated for meaningful soil models for the prediction of arsenic transport behavior and understand the adsorption and mobilization of arsenic in the soil matrices.

Results and discussion

Region-wise analysis showed elevated levels of arsenic in the soil samples from Goniana region (mean 9.58 mg kg−1) as compared to Talwandi Sabo block (mean 3.38 mg kg−1). Selected soil samples were studied for As(V) and As(III) adsorption behavior. The characteristic arsenic adsorption by these soil samples fitted well with Langmuir, Freundlich, Temkin, and D-R isotherm with a q max in the range of 45 to 254 mg kg−1 and 116 to 250 mg kg−1 for As(III) and As(V), respectively. Adsorption isotherms indicate weak arsenic retention capacity of the soil, which is attributed to the sandy loam textured soil and excessive fertilizer usage in this region. PCM and MLR analysis of the soil arsenic content and its adsorption strongly correlated with soil physicochemical parameters, namely, Mn, Fe, total/available phosphorus, and organic matter.

Conclusions

Manganese and iron content were firmly established for retention of arsenic in soil, whereas its mobility was influenced by organic matter and total/available phosphorus. The poor adsorptive characteristic of these soils is the primary cause of higher arsenic concentration in groundwater of this region. A strong correlation between monitored arsenic and adsorbed As(III) with manganese suggests As(III) as the predominant species present in soil environment in this region.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Central University of Punjab, Bathinda, India, for providing facility and infrastructure. We acknowledge the Central Instrumentation Facility and Central university of Punjab, Bathinda for the instrumentation requirements for the monitoring and analysis. We are also thankful to Dr. Puneeta Pandey at Centre for Environmental Science and Technology, Central University of Punjab for her help in mapping this region. Sunil Mittal is thankful to UGC for financial assistance under the Faculty Startup Grant. Ravishankar Kumar and Rabindra Kumar are thankful to CUPB and UGC for scholarship under Ph.D. program.

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Correspondence to J. Nagendra Babu.

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Kumar, R., Kumar, R., Mittal, S. et al. Role of soil physicochemical characteristics on the present state of arsenic and its adsorption in alluvial soils of two agri-intensive region of Bathinda, Punjab, India. J Soils Sediments 16, 605–620 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11368-015-1262-8

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Keywords

  • Adsorption
  • Arsenic
  • Bathinda
  • Punjab
  • Soil transport and groundwater