Student Geochemistry Sleuth is Hot on the Trail of Arsenic Pollution

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[Max Meadows is searching for the source of arsenic contamination in Lebanon, CT]

I spent my summer this year working with Dr. Oyewumi on a project with the intent to determine the source of arsenic contamination in Lebanon, Connecticut. Over the past few years, other students have collected data from stream sediments, and bedrock to try and solve the mystery of the contamination, but the data was incompatible with these being the sources. With the stream sediment and bedrock being ruled out, we are led to believe the source of high levels of arsenic is coming from the soil in the town. Of the 87 total soil samples collected, half have been geochemically analyzed by completing acid digestion. One such location resulted in arsenic concentrations nearly 10 times greater than the levels recorded in the rest of the town. Some possible reasons for concentrations of this caliber are overuse of fertilizers and other agricultural products, animal waste such as poultry litter that contains high levels of arsenic, or misused industrial products. I am currently preparing the remaining soil samples for geochemical analysis. It is my aspiration to find the source of the contamination, and to remediate the soils that have been constantly contaminated these past few years. – Max Meadows

 

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