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A study on the arsenic concentration in groundwater of a coastal aquifer in south-east India: an integrated approach

Chidambaram, S., Thilagavathi, R., Thivya, C., Karmegam, U., Prasanna, M. V., Ramanathan, AL., Tirumalesh, K., Sasidhar, P.
Environment, development and sustainability 2017 v.19 no.3 pp. 1015-1040
alluvium, aquifers, arsenic, deuterium, drinking water, floodplains, geochemistry, geophysics, groundwater, ions, irrigation, landfills, metals, oxygen, rivers, stable isotopes, India
The occurrence of arsenic in drinking water and its detrimental effects have drawn much attention in recent years. Several studies have been conducted in the deltaic plains of River Ganga, NE part of the India, and in other countries, but no systematic study was conducted in South India on occurrence of arsenic in groundwater. The main aim of this study is to determine the level of arsenic in groundwater and to understand the relation with other geochemical parameters of groundwater in the south-eastern coastal aquifer at Kalpakkam region, India. This region is represented by three different lithologies, viz. charnockites, flood plain alluvium and marine alluvium. Twenty-nine representative samples of groundwater were collected and analysed for major ions, metals and isotopes such as ²H and ¹⁸O. In addition, geophysical method was also attempted to understand the subsurface condition. The spatial variation in arsenic (As) indicates that higher concentration was observed around the landfill sites and irrigated regions, which was supported by geochemical, statistical and isotopic inferences. The variation in the As with depth, lithology and sources has been clearly brought out. Though the values of As does not exceed the drinking water permissible limit (10 mg/l), it has reached a near permissible level of 8.7 ppb. Hence, it is essential to understand the geochemical behaviour of As for a proper future management of the water resource in the study area.