Nitrate Controls on Iron and Arsenic in an Urban Lake

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Science  28 Jun 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5577, pp. 2373-2376
DOI: 10.1126/science.1072402

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Aquatic ecosystems are often contaminated by multiple substances. Nitrate, a common aquatic pollutant, strongly influenced the cycling of arsenic (As) under anoxic conditions in urban Upper Mystic Lake (Massachusetts, USA) by oxidizing ferrous iron [Fe(II)] to produce As-sorbing particulate hydrous ferric oxides and causing the more oxidized As(V), which is more particle-reactive than As(III) under these conditions, to dominate. This process is likely to be important in many natural waters.

  • * Present address: Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Harvard School of Public Health, Building 1 Room G21, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: dbsenn{at}

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