Abstract In this study, we examined the effects of simultaneous adsorption of aqueous arsenate and uranyl onto aluminum oxide over a range of pH and concentration conditions. Arsenate was used as a chemical analog for phosphate, and offers advantages for characterization via X-ray absorption spectroscopy. By combining batch experiments, speciation calculations, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction, we investigated the uptake behavior of uranyl, as well as the local and long-range structure of the final sorption products. In the presence of arsenate, uranyl sorption was greatly enhanced in the acidic pH range, and the amount of enhancement is positively correlated to the initial arsenate and uranyl concentrations. At pH 4–6, U L III- and As K-edge EXAFS results suggest the formation of surface-sorbed uranyl and arsenate species as well as uranyl arsenate surface precipitate(s) that have a structure similar to trögerite. Uranyl polymeric species or oxyhydroxide precipitate(s) become more important with increasing pH values. Our results provide the basis for predictive models of the uptake of uranyl by aluminum oxide in the presence of arsenate and (by analogy) phosphate, which can be especially important for understanding phosphate-based uranium remediation systems.