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Title: Hexavalent Chromium Generation within Naturally Structured Soils and Sediments

Chromium(VI) produced from the oxidation of indigenous Cr(III) minerals is increasingly being recognized as a threat to groundwater quality. A critical determinant of Cr(VI) generation within soils and sediments is the necessary interaction of two low-solubility phases$-$Cr(III) silicates or (hydr)oxides and Mn(III/IV) oxides—that lead to its production. Here in this paper, we investigate the potential for Cr(III) oxidation by Mn oxides within fixed solid matrices common to soils and sediments. Artificial aggregates were constructed from Cr(OH) 3- and Cr 0.25Fe 0.75(OH) 3-coated quartz grains and either mixed with synthetic birnessite or inoculated with the Mn(II)-oxidizing bacterium Leptothrix cholodnii. In aggregates simulating low organic carbon environments, we observe Cr(VI) concentrations within advecting solutes at levels more than twenty-times the California drinking water standard. Chromium(VI) production is highly dependent on Cr-mineral solubility; increasing Fe-substitution (x = 0 to x = 0.75) decreases the solubility of the solid and concomitantly decreases total Cr(VI) generation by 37%. In environments with high organic carbon, reducing conditions within aggregate cores (microbially) generate sufficient Fe(II) to suppress Cr(VI) efflux. Our results illustrate Cr(VI) generation from reaction with Mn oxides within structured media simulating soils and sediments and provide insight into how fluctuating hydrologic and redox conditions impactmore » coupled processes controlling Cr and Mn cycling.« less
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  1. Stanford Univ., CA (United States). Dept. of Earth System Science
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-76SF00515; DGE-114747
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Environmental Science and Technology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 51; Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 0013-936X
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Research Org:
SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: