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Retardation and mobilization of As at redox fronts under advective flow conditions - A concerted multidisciplinary approach (AdvectAs)

English title Retardation and mobilization of As at redox fronts under advective flow conditions - A concerted multidisciplinary approach (AdvectAs)
Applicant Berg Michael
Number 167821
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Wasserressourcen und Trinkwasser EAWAG
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology - EAWAG
Main discipline Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Start/End 01.06.2017 - 31.07.2021
Approved amount 655'072.00
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Keywords (11)

Groundwater; Arsenic; Geogenic contamination; Mineralogy; Geochemistry; Hydrochemistry; Environmental physics; Reactive transport modelling; Risk identification; Health prevention; Water management

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Weltweit beziehen mehr als 150 Millionen Menschen ihr Trinkwasser aus Arsen-kontaminiertem Grundwasser. Das Halbmetall ist natürlicherweise in Sedimenten enthalten und wird unter stark anoxischen Bedingungen im Grundwasser freigesetzt. Arsens ist geruchs- und geschmacklos, aber für den Menschen sehr giftig. Über längere Zeit eingenommen können selbst bei tiefen Konzentrationen schwerwiegende Gesundheitsschäden auftreten, wie Hyperpigmentierung, Leber- und Nierenschäden, Herz-Kreislauf-Erkrankungen und Krebs.Grundwässer mit hohem respektive tiefem Arsengehalt sind durch unterschiedliche Redox-Bedingungen gekennzeichnet und oft nur durch schmale Übergangszonen voneinander getrennt. Bisher ist unklar in welchem Ausmass solche Redox-Gradienten die Mobilisierung, den Transport aber auch die Rückhaltung von Arsen bestimmen. Daher soll nun das komplexe Zusammenspiel von mineralogischen, mikrobiologischen, hydrologischen und geochemischen Prozessen untersucht werden.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojekts

Übergeordnetes Ziel ist die Wissenslücken hinsichtlich der Arsenmobilität in anoxischen Grundwasserleitern durch einen bewusst integrativen und interdisziplinären Ansatz zu schliessen. In diesem Deutsch-Schweizerischen Projekt arbeiten  Forscher aus verschiedenen Disziplinen sehr eng zusammen (1-Mineralogie & Geochemie, Karlsruhe Institut für Technologie; 2-Mikrobiologie, Uni Tübingen; 3-Hydrochemie & Umweltphysik, Eawag Dübendorf; 4-Reaktive Transportmodellierung, Uni Tübingen) und Feldforschung mit der Uni Hanoi in Vietnam.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext des Forschungsprojekts

Aufgrund der weltweit boomenden Grundwassernutzung steigt das Risiko dass qualitativ einwandfreie Grundwasserleiter langfristig kontaminiert werden. Die erworbenen Kenntnisse sollen Grundlagen bilden um Risikogebiete auszuscheiden und einer schleichenden Arsengefährdung entgegenzuwirken. Dies ist von direktem Nutzen für Bevölkerung, Behörden sowie Medizin und Naturwissenschaften.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 25.04.2017

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Carbon and methane cycling in arsenic-contaminated aquifers
Stopelli Emiliano, Duyen Vu T., Prommer Henning, Glodowska Martyna, Kappler Andreas, Schneider Magnus, Eiche Elisabeth, Lightfoot Alexandra K., Schubert Carsten J., Trang Pham K.T., Viet Pham H., Kipfer Rolf, Winkel Lenny H.E., Berg Michael (2021), Carbon and methane cycling in arsenic-contaminated aquifers, in Water Research, 200, 117300-117300.
Fermentation, methanotrophy and methanogenesis influence sedimentary Fe and As dynamics in As-affected aquifers in Vietnam
Glodowska Martyna, Schneider Magnus, Eiche Elisabeth, Kontny Agnes, Neumann Thomas, Straub Daniel, Berg Michael, Prommer Henning, Bostick Benjamin C., Nghiem Athena A., Kleindienst Sara, Kappler Andreas (2021), Fermentation, methanotrophy and methanogenesis influence sedimentary Fe and As dynamics in As-affected aquifers in Vietnam, in Science of The Total Environment, 779, 146501-146501.
Phosphate immobilisation dynamics and interaction with arsenic sorption at redox transition zones in floodplain aquifers: Insights from the Red River Delta, Vietnam
Neidhardt Harald, Rudischer Sebastian, Eiche Elisabeth, Schneider Magnus, Stopelli Emiliano, Duyen Vu T., Trang Pham T.K., Viet Pham H., Neumann Thomas, Berg Michael (2021), Phosphate immobilisation dynamics and interaction with arsenic sorption at redox transition zones in floodplain aquifers: Insights from the Red River Delta, Vietnam, in Journal of Hazardous Materials, 411, 125128-125128.
Arsenic behavior in groundwater in Hanoi (Vietnam) influenced by a complex biogeochemical network of iron, methane, and sulfur cycling
Glodowska Martyna, Stopelli Emiliano, Straub Daniel, Vu Thi Duyen, Trang Pham T.K., Viet Pham H., AdvectAs team members, Berg Michael, Kappler Andreas, Kleindienst Sara (2021), Arsenic behavior in groundwater in Hanoi (Vietnam) influenced by a complex biogeochemical network of iron, methane, and sulfur cycling, in Journal of Hazardous Materials, 407, 124398-124398.
Iron mineral transformations and their impact on As (im)mobilization at redox interfaces in As-contaminated aquifers
Kontny Agnes, Schneider Magnus, Eiche Elisabeth, Stopelli Emiliano, Glodowska Martyna, Rathi Bhasker, Göttlicher Jörg, Byrne James M., Kappler Andreas, Berg Michael, Thi Duyen Vu, Trang Pham T.K., Viet Pham H., Neumann Thomas (2021), Iron mineral transformations and their impact on As (im)mobilization at redox interfaces in As-contaminated aquifers, in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 296, 189-209.
Arsenic mobilization by anaerobic iron-dependent methane oxidation
Glodowska Martyna, Stopelli Emiliano, Schneider Magnus, Rathi Bhasker, Straub Daniel, Lightfoot Alex, Kipfer Rolf, Berg Michael, Jetten Mike, Kleindienst Sara, Kappler Andreas (2020), Arsenic mobilization by anaerobic iron-dependent methane oxidation, in Communications Earth & Environment, 1(1), 42-42.
Spatial and temporal evolution of groundwater arsenic contamination in the Red River delta, Vietnam: Interplay of mobilisation and retardation processes
Stopelli Emiliano, Duyen Vu T., Mai Tran T., Trang Pham T. K., Viet Pham H., Lightfoot Alexandra, Kipfer Rolf, Schneider Magnus, Eiche Elisabeth, Kontny Agnes, Neumann Thomas, Glodowska Martyna, Patzner Monique, Kappler Andreas, Kleindienst Sara, Rathi Bhasker, Cirpka Olaf, Bostickh Benjamin, Prommer Henning, Winkel Lenny H. E., Berg Michael (2020), Spatial and temporal evolution of groundwater arsenic contamination in the Red River delta, Vietnam: Interplay of mobilisation and retardation processes, in SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT, 717, 137143.
The river–groundwater interface as a hotspot for arsenic release
Wallis Ilka, Prommer Henning, Berg Michael, Siade Adam J., Sun Jing, Kipfer Rolf (2020), The river–groundwater interface as a hotspot for arsenic release, in Nature Geoscience, 13(4), 288-295.
Arsenic and Other Geogenic Contaminants in Groundwater - A Global Challenge
Hug Stephan J., Winkel Lenny H. E., Voegelin Andreas, Berg Michael, Johnson Annette C. (2020), Arsenic and Other Geogenic Contaminants in Groundwater - A Global Challenge, in CHIMIA, 74(7-8), 524-537.
Role of in Situ Natural Organic Matter in Mobilizing As during Microbial Reduction of Fe-III-Mineral-Bearing Aquifer Sediments from Hanoi (Vietnam)
Glodowska M., Stopelli E., Schneider M., Lightfoot A., Rathi B., Straub D., Patzner M., Duyen V. T., Berg M., Kleindienst S., Kappler A., Members AdvectAs Team (2020), Role of in Situ Natural Organic Matter in Mobilizing As during Microbial Reduction of Fe-III-Mineral-Bearing Aquifer Sediments from Hanoi (Vietnam), in ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, 54(7), 4149-4159.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia Australia (Oceania)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
VNU University of Science, Vietnam National University, Hanoi, Vietnam Vietnam (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, NY, USA United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
CSIRO Land and Water, Perth, Australia Australia (Oceania)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Goldschmidt Conference 2021 Talk given at a conference Arsenic mobilization by anaerobic iron-dependent methane oxidation 04.07.2021 Lyon, virtual wordwide, France Kappler Andreas; Stopelli Emiliano; Berg Michael; Lightfoot Alexandra;
Goldschmidt Virtual 2021 Talk given at a conference Aquitard constraints on degassing in an arsenic contaminated aquifer 04.07.2021 Lyon, France Lightfoot Alexandra;
7th Conference on the Developments in Noble Gas Understanding and Expertise (D.I.N.G.U.E-7) Talk given at a conference Aquitard constraints on degassing in an arsenic contaminated aquifer 30.06.2021 Virtual online, France Lightfoot Alexandra;
World Microbe Forum 2021 Poster Anaerobic Methane Oxidation and Its Implication for Arsenic Groundwater Contamination 20.06.2021 Online Worldwide, Switzerland Berg Michael; Stopelli Emiliano; Kappler Andreas; Lightfoot Alexandra;
8th International Congress on Arsenic in the Environment (As2021) Talk given at a conference The Role of Gases in an Arsenic Contaminated Aquifer 07.06.2021 Wageningen, Netherlands Lightfoot Alexandra;
8th International Congress on Arsenic in the Environment (As2021) Talk given at a conference (Invited plenary lecture) Second-generation global risk map of groundwater arsenic contamination 07.06.2021 Wageningen, Netherlands Berg Michael;
Goldschmidt Virtual 2020 Talk given at a conference Arsenic mobilization and retention mechanisms along an iron mineral dominated redox gradient in delta sediments of Van Phuc, Vietnam 21.06.2020 Virtual online, United States of America Stopelli Emiliano; Kappler Andreas; Eiche Elisabeth; Neumann Thomas; Berg Michael;
Goldschmidt Virtual 2020 Talk given at a conference Gas and Groundwater Dynamics in an As Contaminated Aquifer 21.06.2020 Virtual online, United States of America Stopelli Emiliano; Lightfoot Alexandra;
European Geosciences Union (EGU), General Assembly 2020 Talk given at a conference The role of (noble)gases in an As contaminated aquifer 04.05.2020 Virtual online, Austria Lightfoot Alexandra;
Swiss Chemical Society, SCS Fall Meeting 2019 Talk given at a conference Sandmeyer Award Lecture 2019: «Arsenic and other Geogenic Contaminants in Groundwater – a Global Challenge» 06.09.2019 Zurich, Switzerland Berg Michael;
Goldschmidt Conference 2019 Talk given at a conference Potential role of CH4 oxidation coupled to Fe(III) mineral reduction for As mobilization in a groundwater aquifer in Hanoi, Vietnam 18.08.2019 Barcelona, Spain Stopelli Emiliano; Lightfoot Alexandra; Kappler Andreas; Berg Michael;
Goldschmidt Conference 2019 Talk given at a conference Iron Mineralogy along Redox Gradients in an Arsenic Contaminated Aquifer in Van Phuc, Vietnam 18.08.2019 Barcelona, Spain Berg Michael; Eiche Elisabeth; Lightfoot Alexandra; Neumann Thomas; Kappler Andreas; Stopelli Emiliano;
Goldschmidt Conference 2019 Talk given at a conference Hydrochemical Investigations on Arsenic (Im)mobilisation in Groundwater: Example of Van Phuc, Vietnam 18.08.2019 Barcelona, Spain Berg Michael; Stopelli Emiliano; Lightfoot Alexandra;
Goldschmidt Conference 2019 Talk given at a conference Arsenic Sorption on Holocene and Pleistocene Aquifer Sediments 18.08.2019 Barcelona, Spain Eiche Elisabeth; Stopelli Emiliano; Cirpka Olaf Arie; Berg Michael;
12th IBP PhD Congress, ETH Zürich Talk given at a conference The Role of Gases in an Arsenic Contaminated Aquifer 26.04.2019 Zürich, Switzerland Lightfoot Alexandra;
Goldschmidt 2018 Talk given at a conference Interdisciplinary approach to understand As mobilization in the groundwater of Hanoi, Vietnam 12.08.2018 Boston, United States of America Berg Michael; Neumann Thomas; Eiche Elisabeth; Cirpka Olaf Arie; Lightfoot Alexandra; Stopelli Emiliano; Kappler Andreas;
Goldschmidt 2018 Talk given at a conference Microbial arsenic mobilization in groundwater aquifers of the Red River Delta, Vietnam 12.08.2018 Boston, United States of America Kappler Andreas; Neumann Thomas; Cirpka Olaf Arie; Berg Michael; Stopelli Emiliano; Eiche Elisabeth; Lightfoot Alexandra;
7th International Congress on Arsenic in the Environment (As2018) Talk given at a conference AdvectAs challenge: multidisciplinary research on groundwater arsenic dissolution, transport, and retardation under advective flow conditions 01.07.2018 Beijing, China Neumann Thomas; Lightfoot Alexandra; Berg Michael; Cirpka Olaf Arie; Kappler Andreas; Eiche Elisabeth; Stopelli Emiliano;
7th International Congress on Arsenic in the Environment (As2018) Talk given at a conference Groundwater Assessment Platform (GAP): A new GIS tool for risk forecasting and mitigation of geogenic groundwater contamination 01.07.2018 Beijing, China Berg Michael;
European Geosciences Union (EGU), General Assembly 2018 Talk given at a conference Insights into the Biogeochemical Cycling of Phosphorus in Reducing Aquifers of South and South East Asian Floodplain and Delta Regions 08.04.2018 Vienna, Austria Berg Michael; Eiche Elisabeth;
255th ACS National Meeting, American Chemical Society Talk given at a conference Arsenic mobilization and attenuation during injection of treated coal seam gas co-produced water into deep aquifers 19.03.2018 New Orleans, United States of America Berg Michael;
Umweltrisiken in der Wasserforschung - Inter- und transdisziplinäre Bewertungen und Perspektiven. Wassernetzwerk, Karlsruhe, Germany Poster Investigating Arsenic Contamination of Groundwater Resources – A case study from Vietnam. 15.01.2018 Karlsruhe, Germany Berg Michael;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Video/Film River-Groundwater Interface, Arsenic Hotspot International 2021
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Arsen-Hotspots: Wo Flüsse das Grundwasser speisen Eawag Website International Western Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland 2020
Media relations: print media, online media Computer modelling deciphers the important role of the river-groundwater interface as a hot spot for myScience International 2020
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Computer modelling to protect populations from groundwater contamination University of Western Australia International 2020
Media relations: print media, online media How methane can lead to arsenic groundwater contamination Springer Nature Sustainability Community International 2020
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Locating the hotspot for groundwater arsenic pollution ECOS, CSIRO Australia International 2020
Media relations: print media, online media Methanfresser setzen giftiges Arsen frei Pressetext.com International German-speaking Switzerland 2020
Media relations: print media, online media Microbes feeding on methane release arsenic into groundwater Phys.org International 2020
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Mit Methan als Nahrungsquelle setzen Bakterien giftiges Arsen frei Universität Tübingen German-speaking Switzerland International 2020
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Reactive transport modelling deciphers the role of the river-groundwater interface as a hot spot for Nature Ecology and Evolution International 2020
Media relations: print media, online media River-Groundwater Hot Spot For Arsenic Eurasia Review International 2020
Media relations: print media, online media River-groundwater hot spot for arsenic Bioingeneer International 2020
Media relations: print media, online media River-groundwater hot spot for arsenic release Scimex International 2020
Media relations: print media, online media River-groundwater hot spot for arsenic: Computer modelling deciphers complex interface Geology Page International 2020
Media relations: print media, online media The river–groundwater interface as a hotspot for arsenic release Science Codex International 2020
Media relations: print media, online media Wie Bakterien Arsen ins Grundwasser freisetzen Bild der Wissenschaft German-speaking Switzerland International 2020

Awards

Title Year
Sandmeyer Prize 2019, Swiss Chemical Society https://www.eawag.ch/en/news-agenda/news-portal/news-detail/forschende-der-eawag-mit-sandmeyer-award-ausgezeichnet/ 2019

Abstract

Elevated levels of arsenic (As) in groundwater are a health problem affecting over 100 million people worldwide, particularly in the densely populated river deltas of South and Southeast Asia. Aquifers containing low and high As levels are characterized by highly contrasting redox conditions that are often separated by Fe-dominated transition zones. Such redox fronts play a crucial role with regard to As advection and retention, consequently preventing safe aquifers from contamination with As. However, because of the constantly growing water demand and increasing groundwater abstraction, aquifers being currently not affected by As are at risk of becoming As-polluted in the future.Despite more than a decade of research, it remains largely unknown to which extent sorption of As at Fe-dominated redox fronts delays the contamination of low-As aquifers under enhanced advective flow conditions. Without addressing this key issue in a comprehensive, multidisciplinary manner, it is not possible to make reliable and robust predictions about the time scale over which low-As aquifers are likely to become contaminated by incursion of water from adjacent As-bearing aquifers.We hypothesize that the stability and persistence of the redox transition zones in space and time are largely controlled by the mutual interaction of (a) transport processes, (b) microbial activity and (c) the stability of As host mineral phases (mainly Fe-bearing). We postulate that the abundance and type of Fe phases as well as of As species vary across the transition zones as a result of the availability of electron donors and acceptors, the activity of specific microbial communities, and the overall water exchange and solute transport. Furthermore, we expect that external sources of dissolved organic carbon, e.g. by vertical aquifer-aquitard exchange, foster As mobilization and enrichment in groundwater.The overarching goal of this proposed multidisciplinary research project is to assess potential future As contamination of currently 'safe' groundwaters by understanding and predicting the long-term mobility of As under enhanced hydraulic forcing across Fe-dominated redox transition zones in aquifer systems.The simultaneous characterization of these key processes on As-dynamics and their interactions will be carried out in a test field in Vietnam, which has previously been characterized by our research consortium and is particularly suitable to reach our research goals. Data obtained will be integrated in an advanced reactive transport model that couples physical transport and exchange with the key bio-geochemical reactions. This integrated model will allow to analyze the future evolution of the relevant redox fronts in time and space and the fate of As. To our knowledge, such a comprehensive approach involving all key disciplines has not been carried out to date and will, thus, significantly enhance our understanding and our ability to predict As mobility in groundwaters.
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