Paper No. 19-2
Presentation Time: 1:45 PM
ASSESSING RELEASE OF ARSENIC AND OTHER CHEMICAL ELEMENTS FROM A HISTORICAL AGRICULTURAL FARMLAND WITHIN WESTERN ROCKY HILL, CT
The use of inorganic based pesticides such as lead arsenate, copper arsenate and calcium arsenate were common agricultural practices for effective pest control beginning in the early-to-middle 20th century. The growth in human population over time further fueled these practices due to the need of increased food supply. Straska Farm is an historical agricultural land in the western part of Rocky Hill, CT which has been in existence for over 100 years. On January 24th 2020, it was reported in a local newspaper, The Hartford Courant, that soils from Rocky Hill’s Straska Farm exhibited high levels of arsenic, possibly attributed to historic pesticide applications. The presence of arsenic in soil is a great cause for concern due to its high dissolution rates, transportability to drinking water supplies, and possible impacts on human health. Moreover, studies have shown arsenic pollution to contribute to the development of cancerous cells. This research work assessed the concentration and distribution of arsenic and other chemical elements within the agricultural watershed. This research will enhance the : i) evaluation of anthropogenic impacts on the heavy metals (trace elements) chemistry; ii) evaluation of the sediment enrichment factor and geoaccumulation indices with reference to geochemical abundance of these elements; iii) determination of the water quality and usability; and iv) ecological risk assessment of the possible impact on aquatic animals. A total of 24 stream sediment samples were collected from the surrounding farm area. In addition, a total of 8 soil samples were randomly collected from the farm and analyzed for acid extractable, as well as for basic soil parameters such as particle size, organic matter, and soluble salts. Also, 24 water samples from the surrounding farmland were collected and analyzed for both cations and anions. During water sampling, basic physico-chemical parameters of the water column were determined, including total dissolved solids, electrical conductivity, DO, and pH. Using a combination of statistical analysis, calculation of enrichment factors, and GIS maps with overlays, we further relate spatial concentrations of arsenic and other trace elements and their possible influence on the hydrologic system.