• Arsenic in the Water, Soil Bedrock, and Plants of the Ester Dome Area of Alaska

      Hawkins, Daniel B.; Forbes, Robert B.; Hok, Charlotte I.; Dinkel, Donald (University of Alaska, Institute of Water Resources, 1982-06)
      Concentrations of arsenic as large as 10 ppm (200 times the safe limit for drinking water) occur in the groundwater of a mineralized residential area near Fairbanks. Bedrock of the area contains 750 ppm As, primarily as arsenopyrite and scorodite. The oxygen-poor groundwater is enriched in As(III) and ferrous iron while the surface waters are iron free and contain less than 50 ppb As(V). Arsenic is removed from the water by coprecipitation with ferric hydroxide. Some iron-rich stream sediments contain as much as 1,400 ppm arsenic. The distribution of arsenic in the groundwater is controlled by the distribution of arsenic in the bedrock. The arsenic content of the B soil horizon over mineralized veins is about 150 ppm, while that over barren rock is 30 ppm. The vegetation over the veins is not significantly enriched in arsenic. Lettuce, radishes and tomatoes grown with arsenic-rich water (5 ppm) contain 16, 8 and 1 ppm As, respectively; these amounts are significantly greater than plants not treated with arsenic. Preliminary studies by state and federal health agencies show no detrimental effects on the health of persons drinking these arsenic-rich waters.