Publication Type:

Journal Article


Environmental Earth Sciences, Volume 62, Number 2, p.223–232 (2010)



Systematic investigations on seasonal variations in arsenic (As) concentrations in groundwater in both space and time are scarce for most parts of West Bengal (India). Hence, this study has been undertaken to investigate the extent of As pollution and its temporal variability in parts of Murshidabad district (West Bengal, India). Water samples from 35 wells were collected during pre-monsoon, monsoon and post-monsoon seasons and analyzed for various elements. Based on the Indian permissible limit for As (50 $μ$g/L) in the drinking water, water samples were classified into contaminated and uncontaminated category. 18 wells were reported as uncontaminated (on average 12 $μ$g/L As) and 12 wells were found contaminated (129 $μ$g/L As) throughout the year, while 5 wells could be classified as either contaminated or uncontaminated depending on when they were sampled. Although the number of wells that alternate between the contaminated and uncontaminated classification is relatively small (14%), distinct seasonal variation in As concentrations occur in all wells. This suggests that investigations conducted within the study area for the purpose of assessing the health risk posed by As in groundwater should not rely on a single round of water samples. In comparison to other areas, As is mainly released to the groundwater due to reductive dissolution of Fe-oxyhydroxides, a process, which is probably enhanced by anthropogenic input of organic carbon. The seasonal variation in As concentrations appear to be caused mainly by dilution effects during monsoon and post-monsoon. The relatively high concentrations of Mn (mean 0.9 mg/L), well above the WHO limit (0.4 mg/L), also cause great concern and necessitate further investigations.

Cite this Research Publication

S. H. Farooq, Chandrasekharam, D., Norra, S., Berner, Z., Eiche, E., Thambidurai, P., and Stüben, D., “Temporal variations in arsenic concentration in the groundwater of Murshidabad District, West Bengal, India”, Environmental Earth Sciences, vol. 62, pp. 223–232, 2010.