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MNA as a Remedy for Arsenic Mobilized by Anthropogenic Inputs of Organic Carbon



The potential application of monitored natural attenuation (MNA) as a remedy for ground water contaminated with arsenic (As) is examined for a subset of contaminated sites, specifically those where naturally occurring As has been mobilized due to localized anthropogenic organic carbon (OC) releases. This includes sites subject to petroleum releases, exposure to landfill leachates, and OC additions for biostimulation of reductive dechlorination of chlorinated solvents. The key characteristic of these sites is that, under conditions prevailing before the anthropogenic OC introduction, the naturally occurring As in the subsurface was not mobile and did not adversely affect ground water quality. This suggests that, in the far-field (where background conditions are (re) established), As may be sequestered upon contact of the contaminated ground water with either or both the (uncontaminated) ambient ground water and the background aquifer minerals. The observed extents of elevated concentrations (or “footprints”) of As and other chemical species, such as dissolved OC and iron (Fe), and related parameters, such as redox potential (Eh) and dissolved oxygen, and their evolution over time can be used to assess the mobilization and sequestration of As and the potential feasibility of MNA as a remedial option. Ultimately, the capacity for As sequestration must be assessed in the context of the OC loading to the site, which may require “active” measures for source control. Monitoring is needed to confirm the continuing effectiveness of the MNA remedy or to indicate if contingency measures must be implemented.