Influence of basin-wide geomorphology on arsenic distribution in Nadia district

Ayan Das, Santanu Majumder, Sandipan Barman, Debashis Chatterjee, Sutapa Mukhopadhyay, Pinaki Ghosh, Chandra Nath Pal, Gopinath Saha

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The present study depicts the geospatial relation between basinal geomorphology and heterogeneous arsenic (As) distribution in the Bengal Delta Plain (BDP). The distribution pattern largely varies throughout the study area (higher: Karimpur-II AsT average 214.73 μgL−1; lower: Tehatta AsT average 27.84 μgL−1). Both safe (low As) and unsafe (high As) areas are identified within the single shallow aquifer (<50 m), where they are in close vicinity. Statistical analysis shows that Padma river basin is the most contaminated (AsT avg. 214.7 ± 160 μgL−1) and Churni-Ichhamati river basin (AsT avg. 108.54 ± 89.43 μgL−1) is the least contaminated with groundwater As. Moreover, the role of geomorphological features influencing the geospatial distribution of As has been studied and meandering features are found to correlate with high As wells (r2 = 0.52), whereas, natural levees are correlated with safer wells (r2 = 0.57). In the meandering features, the deposition of sedimentary organic matter (SOM) facilitates the reduction of As bearing Fe(III) oxy-hydroxides and subsequent higher As mobilization. In natural levees, surface derived labile organic matter (DOC and FOM, Fresh Organic Matter) from different land-use patterns (Habitation, degraded waterbodies, cattle dwelling, sanitation, etc.) is transported to shallow aquifers (notably protein rich leakage sewage). The fresh organic carbon transported to the shallow aquifers, thereby triggering As release by microbe-mediated reductive dissolution of hydrated Fe(III)-oxides (HFO). Iron reduction (mostly amorphous) is playing an important role in the release of As depending on basin-wise sedimentation pattern, local recharge, accumulation of silt/clay/micas at the top with corresponding reactive oxidation of organic carbon. These are important components and often helping the cyclic water-rock interaction of As causing such heterogeneous geospatial distribution. The delineation of aquifer with regard to safer and unsafe areas would immensely help to supply safe drinking water to the rural community.
Original languageEnglish
Article number110314
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironmental Research
Early online date8 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Groundwater
  • Arsenic distribution pattern
  • Geomorphological features
  • Basinal characters
  • Geo-spatial distribution


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