Research in Chemical Hydrogeology

Dr. Madeline Schreiber


Arsenic cycling in agricultural watersheds 
Manganese geochemistry and mobility
Uranium geochemistry and mobility
Arsenic in northeastern Wisconsin 
Controls on arsenic release in mine-impacted watersheds
Dissolution of arsenic-bearing minerals 
Anaerobic biodegradation of petroleum hydrocarbons 


Environmental Cycling of Organoarsenic Compounds

Until recently, Roxarsone, an organoarsenic compound, was added to poultry feed at 22.7 to 45.5 g per ton, for the purpose of improving weight gain, feed efficiency, and pigmentation. Previous studies have demonstrated that these organoarsenic compounds do not accumulate in poultry tissue or feathers but are rapidly excreted, resulting in elevated concentrations of arsenic (20 to 40 mg/kg) in poultry litter.  The central objective of our study is to gain new and fundamental insights into factors that control the fate and transport of arsenic compounds in agricultural watersheds. 

We are currently conducting detailed field monitoring in an agricultural watershed in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, and the Delmarva Peninsula, Delaware. Using the knowledge gained from monitoring, laboratory studies, and soil analysis, we will be able to evaluate the fate of organoarsenic compounds in agricultural watersheds. Funding for this work has come from several sources, including NSF.

Publications

Oyewumi, O, Schreiber, ME. 2012. Release of arsenic and other trace elements from poultry litter: Insights from a field experiment on the Delmarva Peninsula, Delaware. Applied Geochemistry 27(10): 1979-1990.

Ciparis, S, Schreiber, ME, Voshell, JR. 2012. Using watershed characteristics, sediment, and tissue of resident mollusks to identify potential sources of trace elements to streams in a complex agricultural landscape. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 184(5): 3109-3126.

Oyewumi, O, Schreiber, ME. Examining the impact of poultry litter application on water quality; results from a field experiment. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, 2010, Denver, CO.

Oyewumi, O, Schreiber, ME. Biogeochemical controls on the fate and transport of organoarsenicals from poultry litter. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, 2009, Portland, OR.

Diesel, EA, Schreiber, ME, van der Meer, JR. 2009. Microbial detection of arsenic in groundwater. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 394(3): 687-693.

Diesel, EA, Nadimpalli, M, Hull, MS, Schreiber, ME, Vikesland, PJ. Assessing arsenic bioavailability through the use of bioassays. American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting, Dec 14-18, 2009, San Francisco, CA.

Diesel, EA, Schreiber, ME, van der Meer, JR., Hull, MS, Vikesland, PJ, Love, NG, van Lintel, H, Braschler, T, Renaud, P. Novel uses for environmental sensors: Towards a Mode of Action sensor array for arsenic. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting Oct 5-9, 2008, Houston, Texas.

Diesel, EA, Schreiber, ME. The release and transport of arsenic and other trace elements from a poultry litter application in an agricultural watershed. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Oct 28-31, 2007, Denver, CO.

Harvey MC and Schreiber ME. Adsorption of roxarsone to goethite to kaolinite. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting Oct 21-24, 2006, Philadelphia PA.

Diesel E, Schreiber ME. 2006. The mobility of arsenic adsorbed to particulates within agricultural watersheds. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting Oct 21-24, 2006, Philadelphia PA.

Harvey MC. Adsorption of roxarsone to kaolinite and goethite. MS Thesis, Department of Geosciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg VA.

Brown BL, Slaughter AD, Schreiber ME. 2005. Controls on arsenic transport within agricultural watersheds. Applied Geochemistry 20 (1): 123-133.

Schreiber ME. 2004. Organoarsenic fate and transport in agricultural watersheds. Proceedings of the 2004 Virginia Water Resources Research Symposium, Blacksburg, Virginia, Oct 4-6, 2004.

Schreiber ME, Chambers D, J White. 2004. Cycling of organoarsenic compounds in agricultural watersheds. American Geophysical Union Meeting, San Francisco CA.

Barnhart-Slaughter A, Schreiber ME, Brown BL. 2003. Biotransformation of roxarsone, an organoarsenic feed additive. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs vol. 35, no. 6.

Brown BL and Schreiber ME. 2002. The sorption and extraction of roxarsone, an organoarsenic feed additive. Proceedings of the 2002 Virginia Water Resources Research Symposium, Roanoke, Virginia, Nov 5-6, 2002.

top 

Manganese geochemistry and mobility

We are studying manganese transport in the Roanoke River.

Publications

top

Uranium geochemistry and mobility

We are conducting experiments to calculate rate laws for the precipitation and dissolution of uranium phosphate minerals of the type that are found at the Coles Hill Uranium Deposit in Virginia.

Publications

Levitan, DM, Schreiber, ME, Seal, RR II, Bodnar, RJ, and Aylor, JG Jr. 2012. Baseline characterization of surface waters at the Coles Hill uranium deposit, Virginia. Goldschmidt 2012, Montreal.

Levitan, DM, Schreiber, ME, Seal, RR II, Bodnar, RJ, and Aylor, JG Jr. 2011. Characterization of stream waters in the vicinity of the undeveloped Coles Hill Uranium Deposit, Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Geological Society of America annual meeting, 2011, Minneapolis, MN.

Levitan, DM, Schreiber, ME, Seal, RR II, Bodnar, RJ, and Aylor, JG Jr. 2010. Characterization of the premining geochemistry of surface and ground waters at the Coles Hill Uranium Deposit, Virginia. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, 2010, Denver, CO.

top

Arsenic in groundwater, eastern Wisconsin

Elevated arsenic concentrations have been measured in groundwater from the confined St. Peter sandstone aquifer in eastern Wisconsin. The source of the arsenic is a sulfide-bearing secondary cement horizon (SCH) that has variable thickness, morphology, and arsenic concentrations. Arsenic occurs in pyrite and marcasite as well as in iron oxyhydroxides but not as a separate arsenopyrite phase. The heterogeneity of arsenic content of the SCH results in significant variation in arsenic concentrations in groundwater, even in wells in close proximity that have similar construction.

Current research on arsenic in Wisconsin is being conducted by Madeline Gotkowitz at the Wisconsin Natural History and Geologic Survey.  Read more about the problem in the Wisconsin DNR's on-line magazine.

Publications

West, NR, Schreiber ME and Gotkowitz MB. Arsenic cycling during chlorine oxidation of pyrite from the St. Peter Sandstone Aquifer, eastern Wisconsin. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting Oct 5-9, 2008, Houston, Texas.

Montrey, J, Schreiber, ME, West, NR. Oxidation of pyrite by chlorine. Geological Society of America Southeastern Section Annual Meeting, 2008, Charlotte, NC.

West NR, Schreiber ME and Gotkowitz MB. 2006. Effect of chlorination on arsenic release from sulfide minerals in the St Peter sandstone aquifer, eastern Wisconsin. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting Oct 21-24, 2006, Philadelphia PA.

Gotkowitz MB, Schreiber ME, Simo JA. 2004. Effects of water use on arsenic release to well water in a confined aquifer. Ground Water 42 (4): 568-576

Johnson J, Schreiber ME. 2004. Arsenic: Perspectives on a New Environmental Concern. The Professional Geologist 41(3): 41-44.

Schreiber ME, Gotkowitz MB, Simo JA, Freiberg PG.  2002.  Mechanisms of arsenic release to groundwater from naturally occurring sources, Eastern Wisconsin.  Welch A. and Stollenwerk K. (eds.).  Arsenic in Groundwater, Kluwer Publishers.

Gotkowitz MB, Schreiber ME, and JA Simo.  2001. Contrasts in the geologic and hydrochemical occurrences of arsenic contamination of groundwater in eastern Wisconsin.  Institute on Lake Superior Geology Conference, May 9-12 2001, Madison WI.

Gotkowitz, MB, Schreiber, ME and others. 2001. Geologic and geochemical controls on arsenic release to groundwater in eastern Wisconsin.  Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, November 5-8, 2001.

Schreiber, M.E., Simo, J.A., and Freiberg, P.G. 2000. Stratigraphic and geochemical controls on naturally-occurring arsenic in groundwater, eastern Wisconsin, USA.Hydrogeology Journal.

Gotkowitz, M.B., Schreiber, M.E., Simo, J.A.  2000. Delineating causes of arsenic contamination of groundwater, eastern Wisconsin. EOS, American Geophysical Union,Fall meeting.

Simo, J.A., Freiberg, P.G., and Schreiber, M.E. 1997. Stratigraphic and geochemical controls on the mobilization and transport of naturally-occurring arsenic in groundwater: Implications for water supply protection in Northeastern Wisconsin. Groundwater Research Report WRC GRR97-05, University of Wisconsin Water Resources Center, Madison WI, 56 pp.

Schreiber, M.E., Simo, J.A., and Freiberg, P.G. 1997. Hydrogeochemical framework of arsenic contamination in the Fox River Valley. American Water Resources Assocation - Wisconsin Section 21st Annual Meeting, Brookfield WI.

top

Arsenic Transport in Mine-Impacted Watersheds

With Maury Valett and the VT Stream Team, we are conducting a study examining arsenic fate and transport near an abandoned arsenopyrite mine in Floyd Co, Virginia.  The mine was operable in the late 1800s and early 1900s and produced arsenic trioxide, which was shipped to pesticide manufacturing plants.  Although the mine shafts are closed, there are several waste piles at the site which contain arsenopyrite, scorodite (a weathering product of arsenopyrite) and iron oxides.  These waste piles provide a continual source of arsenic to a local stream.  One of our objectives is to examine the attenuation of arsenic in the unsaturated, saturated, and hyporheic zones, as well as the stream. Several students have worked at this site, including Jake Chaffin (MS 2003), Forest Walker (MS 2004), Noah Lotting (MS 2005), Brendan Brown (MS 2005), and Ankan Basu (MS 2006).

Publications

Lottig NR, Valett HM, Schreiber ME, Webster JR. 2007. Flooding and Arsenic Contamination: Influences on Ecosystem Structure and Function in an Appalachian Headwater Stream. Limnology and Oceanography 52: 1991-2001.

Harvey M, Schreiber M, Rimstidt JD, Griffith M. 2006. Scorodite dissolution kinetics: Implications for arsenic release. Environmental Science and Technology 40: 6709-6714.

Walker FP, Schreiber ME, Rimstidt JD. 2006. Kinetics of arsenopyrite oxidative dissolution by oxygen. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 70: 1668-1676.

Brown BR, Valett HM, Schreiber ME. 2006. Arsenic transport in the hyporheic zone of a mine-influenced stream. 2006. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting Oct 21-24, 2006, Philadelphia PA.

Reinhardt LP, Lottig NR, Valett HM, and Schreiber ME. 2006. Influence of elevated levels of arsenic on leaf decomposition and microbial structure and function in a headwater stream. North American Benthological Association Annual Conference.

Chaffin JL, Valett HM, Webster J, Schreiber ME. 2005. The influence of elevated arsenic on leaf breakdown in an Appalachian headwater stream. Journal of the National Benthological Society 24 (3): 553-568.

Valenti TW, Chaffin JL, Cherry DS, Schreiber ME, Valett HM, Charles M. 2005. Bioassessment of an Appalachian headwater stream influenced by an abandoned arsenic mine.Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 49(4): 488-496.

Schreiber ME, Valett, HM, BV Brown, C Altare. 2005. Evaluating arsenic transport in anthropogenic aquifers within mined watersheds. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs vol. 36, no. 5.

Brown BV, Valett, HM, Schreiber ME. 2005. A mass-balance approach to assessing arsenic transport through the hyporheic zone of a mine-influenced mountain stream. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs vol. 36, no. 5.

Schreiber M., Valett H.M., Gentry M., Brown B., Brookshire J and N. Lottig. 2004. Geologic Controls on Arsenic Discharge to a Mine-Impacted Headwater Stream, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, vol. 36, no. 2.

Brown BV, Valett HM, Schreiber ME. 2004. Quantifying Arsenic Fluxes to a Mine-Impacted Headwater Stream, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, vol. 36, no. 2.

Schreiber ME, Valett HM, Walker FP, Chaffin JL. 2003. Transport, transformation, and retention of arsenic in a headwater stream. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs vol .35, no. 6.

Chaffin JL, Valett HM, Webster JR, Schreiber, ME. 2003. The Impact of Elevated Arsenic Concentrations on Biota and Stream Processes in a 2nd-order Headwater Stream, Floyd County, Southwest VA, USA. North American Benthological Society of America Annual Meeting, May 26-30, 2003.

top

Dissolution of arsenic-bearing minerals

Our group is studing release of arsenic from minerals, including sulfides, iron oxides, and mixed Fe-As oxides through laboratory experiments. Our experimental design includes mixed-flow reactors, pH stat reactors, and microcosms (to examine microbially-mediated dissolution). Results of this work will improve the ability to simulate arsenic release through use of geochemical models.

Publications

Harvey M, Schreiber M, Rimstidt JD, Griffith M. 2006. Scorodite dissolution kinetics: Implications for arsenic release. Environmental Science and Technology 40: 6709-6714.

Walker FP, Schreiber ME, Rimstidt JD. 2006. Kinetics of arsenopyrite oxidative dissolution by oxygen. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 70: 1668-1676.

Tadanier CJ, Schreiber ME, Roller JW. 2005. Arsenic mobilization through microbially-mediated reduction of iron-(hydr)oxide nanoparticles. Environmental Science and Technology39(9): 3061-3068.

Griffith M, Harvey MC, Schreiber ME. 2005. The pH-Dependence of Scorodite Dissolution Kinetics. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. GSA Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City UT Oct 15-19, 2005.

Tadanier CJ, Roller JW, Schreiber ME. 2004. Arsenic mobilization through microbial bioreduction of ferrihydrite nanoparticles. Annual Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, Dec 2004.

Harvey MC and Schreiber ME. 2004. Kinetics of scorodite dissolution. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs vol. 36, no. 5, October 2004.

Walker F., Schreiber M., Rimstidt D. Kinetics of arsenopyrite oxidative dissolution by oxygen. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Seattle, Nov 4-7, 2003.

top

Natural and Enhanced Anaerobic Biodegradation of Petroleum Hydrocarbons

Although the importance of anaerobic degradation processes in controlling intrinsic bioremediation of BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes) is well-recognized, a limited understanding of anaerobic mechanisms has prevented quantification of field-scale biodegradation losses. We have used a combination of monitoring, experimental, and modeling methods to assess anaerobic biodegradation of BTEX. Extensive field monitoring at a BTEX-contaminated wetland site at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin revealed that both pristine and contaminated groundwater have spatially variable chemical signatures due to microbially-mediated oxidation-reduction reactions. Monitoring results indicate that intrinsic biodegradation of BTEX is occurring under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions (Schreiber and Bahr, 1999).  To evaluate the potential for enhancing BTEX biodegradation under nitrate-reducing conditions, two natural-gradient pulse tracer tests were conducted.  Addition of nitrate resulted in loss of toluene, ethylbenzene, and m, p-xylenes.  Benzene degradation was not detectable during the 40-day monitoring period (Schreiber et al., 1997; Schreiber and Bahr, 2002).  Laboratory microcosm experiments confirmed that nitrate addition is not likely to enhance benzene biodegradation at the site.  Excess nitrate losses due to oxidation of non-BTEX electron donors were observed in both field and laboratory experiments, indicating that reliance on theoretical stoichiometric equations to estimate mass losses should be re-evaluated (Schreiber and Bahr, 2002; Schreiber et al., 2004).

Using parameters estimated from the field experiments, a coupled flow and transport model (Schreiber et al., 2004) was constructed to simulate the evolution of the BTEX plume and to quantify BTEX losses due to intrinsic biodegradation over the lifetime of the plume. Simulation results suggest that the majority of BTEX mass loss has occurred under aerobic and iron-reducing conditions.  Due to depletion of Fe(III) over time, however, future BTEX mass losses under iron-reducing conditions will decrease, and methanogenesis will play a more important role in controlling biodegradation at the site.

Further research at the site is being conducted by Jean Bahr and students at UW-Madison.

Publications

Schreiber ME, Carey GC, Feinstein DT, Bahr JM. 2004. Mechanisms of electron acceptor utilization: Implications for simulating anaerobic biodegradation. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 73: 99-127.

Schreiber ME and JM Bahr.  2002.  Nitrate-enhanced bioremediation of petroleum hydrocarbons:  Parameter estimation from field tracer experiments. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology.

Hickey WJ, Bahr, JM, Schreiber ME, Zwolinski, MD, and Taglia, PJ.  2001. Analysis of microbiological and geochemical processes controlling biodegradation of aromatic hydrocarbons in anaerobic aquifers.  Wisconsin Groundwater Research Report WRC GRR 01-XX, University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute, Madison WI.

Spain, JM and ME Schreiber.  2001. The role of Fe(III) heterogeneity in controlling bioremediation of petroleum contaminated aquifers.  Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, November 5-8.

Schreiber, M.E., Zwolinski, M.D., Taglia, P.J., Bahr, J.M. and W.J. Hickey. 2001. Microbiological and Hydrogeochemical Controls on Anaerobic Biodegradation of Petroleum Hydrocarbons: Case Study from Fort McCoy, WI. American Geophysical Union 2001 Spring Meeting, EOS Supplement.

Schreiber ME, Bahr JM, Zwolinski MD, Shi Y, and WJ Hickey.  2000. Hydrogeochemical and microbiological studies for enhanced groundwater bioremediation. Wisconsin Groundwater Research Report WRC GRR 00-09, University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute, Madison WI.

Zwolinski, M.D, Schreiber, M.E., Hickey, W.J., and Bahr, J. M. 2000. Analysis of Microbiological and Geochemical Processes Controlling Biodegradation of Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Anaerobic Aquifers. Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) meeting, Fall 2000, Knoxville, TN.

Schreiber ME and JM Bahr.  2000.  Strategies for simulating intrinsic biodegradation using a multi-species reactive transport model.  American Geophysical Union Spring meeting, May 30-June 3, 2000, Washington DC.

Schreiber, M.E. and Bahr J.M. 1999. Spatial electron acceptor variability: Implications for assessing bioremediation potential. Bioremediation Journal 3(4): 363-378.

Shi, Y., Zwolinski, M., Schreiber, M.E., Bahr, J.M., and Hickey, W.J. 1999. Molecular analysis of microbial community structure in pristine and contaminated aquifers: Field and laboratory microcosm studies. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 65: 2143-2150.

Schreiber, M.E.and Bahr, J.M. 1998. Geochemical and microbiological processes controlling anaerobic biodegradation of petroleum-contaminated groundwater. GSA Abstracts with Programs

Schreiber, M.E. and Bahr, J.M. 1998. Experimental and modeling approaches to enhancing BTEX biodegradation. American Geophysical Union 1998 Spring Meeting, EOS Supplement 79 (17): S144

Schreiber, M.E., Bahr, J.M., Zwolinski, M., Shi, Y., Hickey, W.J., and Brownell, K.A. 1997. Field and laboratory studies of BTEX bioremedation under denitrifying conditions. Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on In Situ and On-Site Bioremediation 5: 13-19.

Schreiber, M.E., Bahr, J.M., Hickey, W.J., and Brownell, K.A. 1996. Evidence for intrinsic biodegradation in a BTEX-contaminated wetland aquifer. GSA Abstracts with Programs 28 (7): 132.

top



Home |  People |  Research |  Courses |  Equipment |  PhotosGeosciences |  VT Home