Characterization of colloidal arsenic at two abandoned gold mine sites in Nova Scotia, Canada, using asymmetric flow-field flow fractionation-inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry

Kathryn J Tindale , Pritesh J Patel , Dirk Wallschläger


Received May 04, 2016,Revised August 22, 2016, Accepted October 06, 2016, Available online November 11, 2016

Volume 28,2016,Pages 189-196

Asymmetric flow-field flow fractionation-inductively-coupled plasma-mass spectrometry was used to determine whether colloidal arsenic (As) exists in soil pore water and soil extract samples at two arsenic-contaminated abandoned gold mines (Montague and Goldenville, Nova Scotia). Colloidal arsenic was found in 12 out of the 80 collected samples (= 15%), and was primarily associated with iron (Fe) in the encountered colloids. The molar Fe/As ratios indicate that the colloids in some samples appeared to be discrete iron–arsenic minerals, whereas in other samples, they were more consistent with As-rich iron (oxy)hydroxides. Up to three discrete size fractions of colloidal As were encountered in the samples, with mean colloid diameters between 6 and 14 nm. The pore water samples only contained one size fraction of As-bearing colloids (around 6 nm diameter), while larger As-bearing colloids were only encountered in soil extracts.

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