Erickson ML, Yager RM, Kauffman LJ, Wilson JT. Drinking water quality in the glacial aquifer system, northern USA. Sci Total Environ. 2019 Aug 2;694:133735. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.133735
Groundwater supplies 50% of drinking water worldwide, but compromised water quality from anthropogenic and geogenic contaminants can limit usage of groundwater as a drinking water source. Groundwater quality in the glacial aquifer system, USA (GLAC), is presented in the context of a hydrogeologic framework that divides the study area into 17 hydrogeologic terranes. Results are reported at aquifer-system scale and regional (terrane) scale. This paper presents a quantitative assessment of groundwater quality in the GLAC using data from numerous sources for samples collected 2005-2013, compared to health-based and aesthetic (non-health) benchmarks, and evaluated with areal and population metrics. Concentrations above a benchmark are considered high. Trace elements are widespread across the study area, with an estimated 5.7 million people relying on groundwater with high concentrations of one or more trace elements; manganese and arsenic are most often at high concentration. Nitrate is found at high concentration in 4.0% of the study area, serving about 740 thousand people. Organic compounds including pesticides and volatile organic compounds are high in 2.0% of the assessed study area, with about 870 thousand people relying on groundwater with high concentrations of an organic compound. High arsenic and manganese concentrations occur primarily in the terranes with thick, stratigraphically complex, fine-grained glacial sediment, coincident with groundwater under reducing conditions (indicated by iron concentrations >100 μg/L); high nitrate is uncommon in those same terranes. When nitrate is high in thick, fine-grained, complex terranes, though, it is much more commonly associated with groundwater under more oxidizing conditions. Common geogenic trace elements occur at high concentration due to characteristic geologic and geochemical conditions. Conversely, anthropogenic nitrate and organic compounds are introduced at or near the land surface. High concentrations of nitrate or organic compounds are generally limited to areas in proximity where people live and use the chemicals.
Crabbe H, Fletcher T, Close R, Watts MJ, Ander EL, Smedley PL, Verlander NQ, Gregory M, Middleton DRS, Polya DA, Studden M, Leonardi GS. Hazard Ranking Method for Populations Exposed to Arsenic in Private Water Supplies: Relation to Bedrock Geology. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Dec 1;14(12). pii: E1490. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14121490.
Approximately one million people in the UK are served by private water supplies (PWS) where main municipal water supply system connection is not practical or where PWS is the preferred option. Chronic exposure to contaminants in PWS may have adverse effects on health. South West England is an area with elevated arsenic concentrations in groundwater and over 9000 domestic dwellings here are supplied by PWS. There remains uncertainty as to the extent of the population exposed to arsenic (As), and the factors predicting such exposure. We describe a hazard assessment model based on simplified geology with the potential to predict exposure to As in PWS. Households with a recorded PWS in Cornwall were recruited to take part in a water sampling programme from 2011 to 2013. Bedrock geologies were aggregated and classified into nine Simplified Bedrock Geological Categories (SBGC), plus a cross-cutting “mineralized” area. PWS were sampled by random selection within SBGCs and some 508 households volunteered for the study. Transformations of the data were explored to estimate the distribution of As concentrations for PWS by SBGC. Using the distribution per SBGC, we predict the proportion of dwellings that would be affected by high concentrations and rank the geologies according to hazard. Within most SBGCs, As concentrations were found to have log-normal distributions. Across these areas, the proportion of dwellings predicted to have drinking water over the prescribed concentration value (PCV) for As ranged from 0% to 20%. From these results, a pilot predictive model was developed calculating the proportion of PWS above the PCV for As and hazard ranking supports local decision making and prioritization. With further development and testing, this can help local authorities predict the number of dwellings that might fail the PCV for As, based on bedrock geology. The model presented here for Cornwall could be applied in areas with similar geologies. Application of the method requires independent validation and further groundwater-derived PWS sampling on other geological formations.
Jasechko S, Perrone D. Hydraulic fracturing near domestic groundwater wells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2017 Nov 27. pii: 201701682. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1701682114.
Hydraulic fracturing operations are generating considerable discussion about their potential to contaminate aquifers tapped by domestic groundwater wells. Groundwater wells located closer to hydraulically fractured wells are more likely to be exposed to contaminants derived from on-site spills and well-bore failures, should they occur. Nevertheless, the proximity of hydraulic fracturing operations to domestic groundwater wells is unknown. Here, we analyze the distance between domestic groundwater wells (public and self-supply) constructed between 2000 and 2014 and hydraulically fractured wells stimulated in 2014 in 14 states. We show that 37% of all recorded hydraulically fractured wells stimulated during 2014 exist within 2 km of at least one recently constructed (2000-2014) domestic groundwater well. Furthermore, we identify 11 counties where most ([Formula: see text]50%) recorded domestic groundwater wells exist within 2 km of one or more hydraulically fractured wells stimulated during 2014. Our findings suggest that understanding how frequently hydraulic fracturing operations impact groundwater quality is of widespread importance to drinking water safety in many areas where hydraulic fracturing is common. We also identify 236 counties where most recorded domestic groundwater wells exist within 2 km of one or more recorded oil and gas wells producing during 2014. Our analysis identifies hotspots where both conventional and unconventional oil and gas wells frequently exist near recorded domestic groundwater wells that may be targeted for further water-quality monitoring.
Kauppinen A, Pitkänen T, Miettinen IT. Persistent Norovirus Contamination of Groundwater Supplies in Two Waterborne Outbreaks. Food and environmental virology. 2017 Oct 11. doi: 10.1007/s12560-017-9320-6.
Microbiological contamination of groundwater supplies causes waterborne outbreaks worldwide. In this study, two waterborne outbreaks related to microbiological contamination of groundwater supplies are described. Analyses of pathogenic human enteric viruses (noroviruses and adenoviruses), fecal bacteria (Campylobacter spp. and Salmonella spp.), and indicator microbes (E. coli, coliform bacteria, intestinal enterococci, Clostridium perfringens, heterotrophic plate count, somatic and F-specific coliphages) were conducted in order to reveal the cause of the outbreaks and to examine the effectiveness of the implemented management measures. Moreover, the long-term persistence of noro- and adenovirus genomes was investigated. Noroviruses were detected in water samples from both outbreaks after the intrusion of wastewater into the drinking water sources. In the outbreak I, the removal efficiency of norovirus genome (3.0 log10 removal) in the sand filter of onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS) and during the transport through the soil into the groundwater well was lower than the removal efficiencies of E. coli, coliform bacteria, intestinal enterococci, and spores of C. perfringens (6.2, 6.0, > 5.9, and > 4.8 log10 removals, respectively). In the outbreak II, cleaning of massively contaminated groundwater well and drinking water distribution network proved challenging, and noro- and adenovirus genomes were detected up to 3 months (108 days). The long-term persistence study showed that noro- and adenovirus genomes can remain detectable in the contaminated water samples up to 1277 and 1343 days, respectively. This study highlights the transport and survival properties of enteric viruses in the environment explaining their potency to cause waterborne outbreaks.
Zhang HW, Sun YQ, Li Y, Zhou XD, Tang XZ, Yi P, Murad A, Hussein S, Alshamsi D, Aldahan A, Yu ZB, Chen XG, Mugwaneza VDP. Quality assessment of groundwater from the south-eastern Arabian Peninsula. Environ Monit Assess. 2017 Aug;189(8):411. doi: 10.1007/s10661-017-6092-2.
Assessment of groundwater quality plays a significant role in the utilization of the scarce water resources globally and especially in arid regions. The increasing abstraction together with man-made contamination and seawater intrusion have strongly affected groundwater quality in the Arabia Peninsula, exemplified by the investigation given here from the United Arab Emirates, where the groundwater is seldom reviewed and assessed. In the aim of assessing current groundwater quality, we here present a comparison of chemical data linked to aquifers types. The results reveal that most of the investigated groundwater is not suitable for drinking, household, and agricultural purposes following the WHO permissible limits. Aquifer composition and climate have vital control on the water quality, with the carbonate aquifers contain the least potable water compared to the ophiolites and Quaternary clastics. Seawater intrusion along coastal regions has deteriorated the water quality and the phenomenon may become more intensive with future warming climate and rising sea level.
Le Luu T. Remarks on the current quality of groundwater in Vietnam. Environmental science and pollution research international. 2017 Jul 24. doi: 10.1007/s11356-017-9631-z.
This paper reviews the current quality of groundwater in Vietnam. In Vietnam, groundwater is obtained primarily from tubewells, which have high concentrations of pollutants such as As, Fe, Mn, and NH4+. In the areas where groundwater tests were conducted, arsenic levels ranged from 0.1-3050 μg/L, which substantially exceed the standard of 10 μg/L which has been established by the WHO. Contamination sources are distributed over a large area from the Red River Delta in the north to the Mekong River Delta in the south, putting as many as ten million people at risk of adverse health effects. Levels of arsenic and iron in sediment are strongly correlated, which indicate that the presence of arsenic in groundwater results from the reduction of arsenic bound to iron oxyhydroxides. It is important to raise awareness of these issues among the Vietnamese public by disseminating information about the negative effects of contaminated drinking water, as well as carrying out long-term research projects to identify other sources of contamination and improving water treatment technology and water management capabilities.
MacDonald Gibson J, Pieper KJ. Strategies to Improve Private-Well Water Quality: A North Carolina Perspective. Environmental health perspectives. 2017 Jul 7;125(7):076001. doi: 10.1289/EHP890.
BACKGROUND: Evidence suggests that the 44.5 million U.S. residents drawing their drinking water from private wells face higher risks of waterborne contaminant exposure than those served by regulated community water supplies. Among U.S. states, North Carolina (N.C.) has the second-largest population relying on private wells, making it a useful microcosm to study challenges to maintaining private-well water quality.
OBJECTIVES: This paper summarizes recommendations from a two-day summit to identify options to improve drinking-water quality for N.C. residents served by private wells.
METHODS: The Research Triangle Environmental Health Collaborative invited 111 participants with knowledge of private-well water challenges to attend the Summit. Participants worked in small groups that focused on specific aspects and reconvened in plenary sessions to formulate consensus recommendations.
DISCUSSION: Summit participants highlighted four main barriers to ensuring safe water for residents currently relying on private wells: (1) a database of private well locations is unavailable; (2) racial disparities have perpetuated reliance on private wells in some urbanized areas; (3) many private-well users lack information or resources to monitor and maintain their wells; and (4) private-well support programs are fragmented and lack sufficient resources. The Summit produced 10 consensus recommendations for ways to overcome these barriers.
CONCLUSIONS: The Summit recommendations, if undertaken, could improve the health of North Carolinians facing elevated risks of exposure to waterborne contaminants because of their reliance on inadequately monitored and maintained private wells. Because many of the challenges in N.C. are common nationwide, these recommendations could serve as models for other states.