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Is Arsenic tied up by High pH?  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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Location: Denver, CO
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I have a soil with high pH and phosphorus. Will Arsenic be tied up in this soil? I have been getting contradictory information online about this, and figured someone here would be able to explain it. I wanted to know this since Arsenic is the only common heavy metal which is anionic. And everyone agrees that cationic metals are tied up by calcium. So if Arsenic is also tied up by calcium somehow, I just will not bother getting a soil heavy metal test.

Sorry for all the questions. But as my experiments progress, I will be acting on all of your kind advice and reporting back on how it worked, thus increasing the amount of experience and information contained in this excellent forum.
 
pollinator
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Arsenic is not tied up by calcium. Calcium arsenate was a common pesticide used in the days before DDT, and was made by mixing lime with arsenic oxide. It is fairly water soluble, so since it went out of favor in the 1950s, most of it has probably been leached out of the soil since then. Unless you are in an area where mining activity would have concentrated it (silver, gold or lead mining operations), or there is a naturally high background, arsenic is probably not a cause for concern.

Here is a link to an EPA report on Arsenic Bioavailability in soils.
 
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Look to the major land fills for advice concering sequestering heavy metals in soil and other contaminents. California has some of the strictest laws available. Soil remediation becomes extreamly exspensive. Other wise removing contaminated soil is extreamly costly also. Covering the contaminated soil is exspensive. Raised beds for home gardening seem to be the best low cost sollution. If the plot is large raised beds can be increased over time to account for acreage. When I meen raised I meen no contact with ground. Good luck.
 
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