Boron isotopic composition of freshwater lakes from central Europe and possible contamination sources

Avner Vengosh, Susanne Barth, Klaus G. Heumann, Sigrid Eisenhut

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43 Scopus citations


The boron isotopic compositions of common synthetic boron products, municipal wastewaters from Switzerland, and three Swiss freshwater lakes were investigated. The δ11B values (δ11B values are normalized to the standard NIST SRM-951) of synthetic Na-borates (-0.4 to 7.6‰) and Ca-Na-borates (-13.4 to -4.9‰) overlap with those of natural borate minerals and hence suggest that the isotopic signal of anthropogenic boron is not modified during the manufacturing process. As a result it is possible to predict the isotopic composition of synthetic boron products and their potential impact upon contamination of water resources. The δ11B values of municipal wastewaters from two locations in northern Switzerland (-7.7 to -4.5‰) reflect utilization of Na/Ca- and/or Ca-borates depleted in 11B. Freshwater lakes from Switzerland (Lake Zurich, Greifensee, Lake Lugano) yielded a δ11B range of -1.7 to 7.1‰ and boron concentrations of 17 to 102 mg L-1. The boron isotopic ratios decrease with increasing boron concentrations, indicating mixing between anthropogenic boron with a low δ11B signature and meteoric boron with a heavier isotopic signal. We suggest that the isotopic composition of meteoric boron over central Europe has δ11B values in the range of ca. 10 to 20‰, whereas in coastal areas the marine component is larger with a higher 11B/10B ratio (δ11B ~ 30‰).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-421
Number of pages6
JournalActa Hydrochimica et Hydrobiologica
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 1999


  • Borate Minerals
  • Boron isotope
  • Boron synthetic products
  • Contamination
  • Lake
  • Wastewater
  • Water Quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science (all)


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