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Arsenic is a naturally occurring element present in rocks and soil. Arsenic is the 20th most abundant element in the earth’s crust and often forms compounds by combining with oxygen, chlorine, and sulfur. As water passes through and over soil and rock formations, it dissolves many compounds and minerals including arsenic. The result is that varying amounts of soluble arsenic are present in some water sources. Arsenic chemistry is complex because it has many forms.
This 2008 NebGuide discusses arsenic in public and private drinking water supplies.