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Mobilization of Arsenic and Manganese In the Soil-aquifer System Due to Wastewater Percolation - A Manageable Problem?

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The Fresno-Clovis Regional Water Reclamation Facilities discharge effluent to percolation ponds. Arsenic and manganese have been detected at concentrations greater than their MCLs in the downgradient groundwater. Core sampling and wet/dry pond cycling studies were conducted to better understand the processes that lead to these conditions, and to investigate strategies to decrease concentrations of arsenic and manganese in the groundwater. Core sampling studies showed the presence of alluvial arsenic and manganese. Modest decreases in arsenic concentrations were observed in the groundwater after a half-year of pond cycling, but no changes were observed in manganese concentrations. Low groundwater concentrations of metals were correlated with high concentrations of nitrate, and vice versa. These results support the hypothesis that reducing conditions caused by the effluent are responsible for mobilizing alluvial arsenic and manganese. However, when the groundwater migrates offsite and is reoxidized, the metals are removed from the plume.
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Keywords: Arsenic; groundwater contamination; land discharge; manganese; pond cycling; redox conditions

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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