Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Arsenic, fluoride and other trace elements in the Argentina Pampean plain

R.S. Barranquero, M. Varni, M. Vega, R. Pardi, A. Ruiz de Galarreta


The contents of arsenic (As), fluoride (F) and other trace elements (B, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, V, Zn, Ba, Si and Sr) have been determined in groundwater samples from the Langueyú creek basin, in the Argentina Pampean plain. This research aims to establish the baseline concentration and geographical distribution of trace elements in this basin. This aim has particular interest to public health in the city of Tandil where groundwater is the principal source of water for human supply. The baseline concentrations of elements in the Langueyú creek basin are in good agreement with published data from other locations of the Pampean aquifer. The arsenic limit of 10mg/l, established as provisional limit by the World Health Organization (WHO), was exceeded in 78% of the sampled wells, with As concentration increasing in the direction of groundwater flow. Concentrations of B, Cd, Cu, Cr, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn regulated by the Argentinian Food Code (CAA) do not exceed the maximum limit for drinking water, although concentrations of Ni, Zn or Pb peaked up at some wells, probably due to pipeline corrosion. The strong correlation observed between As, F, V, Cr and B has been related to their anionic character at the groundwater natural alkaline pH that is likely associated with similar mobilization (adsorption/desorption) processes. Worst consequences for human health have arisen in areas with the highest arsenic concentration in drinking water. The conclusions of this study contribute to understand the provenance and mobilization processes of some trace elements in groundwater. It enables the decision making regarding the public health priorities and the technological treatments of water resources in urban and rural areas.

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