Category Archives: Water Quality

Ground Water Quality in Vietnam

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.

Improving Private-Well Water Quality, North Carolina

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.

Pollutant Loading from Low-Density Residential Neighborhoods, Califorina

Bale AE, Greco SE, Pitton BJL, Haver DL, Oki LR. Pollutant loading from low-density residential neighborhoods in California. Environmental monitoring and assessment. 2017 Aug;189(8):386. doi: 10.1007/s10661-017-6104-2.

This paper presents a comparison of pollutant load estimations for runoff from two geographically distinct residential suburban neighborhoods in northern and southern California. The two neighborhoods represent a single urban land use type: low-density residential in small catchments (<0.3 km2) under differing regional climates and irrigation practices. Pollutant loads of pesticides, nutrients, and drinking water constituents of concern are estimated for both storm and non-storm runoff. From continuous flow monitoring, it was found that a daily cycle of persistent runoff that peaks mid-morning occurs at both sites. These load estimations indicate that many residential neighborhoods in California produce significant non-storm pollutant loads year-round. Results suggest that non-storm flow accounted for 47-69% of total annual runoff and significantly contributed to annual loading rates of most nutrients and pesticides at both sites. At the Southern California site, annual non-storm loads are 1.2-10 times higher than storm loads of all conventional constituents and nutrients with one exception (total suspended solids). At the Northern California site, annual storm loads range from 51 to 76% of total loads for all conventional constituents and nutrients with one exception (total dissolved solids). Non-storm yields of pesticides at the Southern California site range from 1.3-65 times higher than those at the Northern California site. The disparity in estimated pollutant loads between the two sites indicates large potential variation from site-to-site within the state and suggests neighborhoods in drier and milder climates may produce significantly larger non-storm loads due to persistent dry season runoff and year-round pest control.

Impact of Changing Water Supply Quality on Distributed Water

Liu G, Zhang Y, Knibbe WJ, Feng C, Liu W, Medema G, van der Meer W. Potential impacts of changing supply-water quality on drinking water distribution: A review. Water Res. 2017 Mar 19;116:135-148. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2017.03.031.

Driven by the development of water purification technologies and water quality regulations, the use of better source water and/or upgraded water treatment processes to improve drinking water quality have become common practices worldwide. However, even though these elements lead to improved water quality, the water quality may be impacted during its distribution through piped networks due to the processes such as pipe material release, biofilm formation and detachment, accumulation and resuspension of loose deposits. Irregular changes in supply-water quality may cause physiochemical and microbiological de-stabilization of pipe material, biofilms and loose deposits in the distribution system that have been established over decades and may harbor components that cause health or esthetical issues (brown water). Even though it is clearly relevant to customers’ health (e.g., recent Flint water crisis), until now, switching of supply-water quality is done without any systematic evaluation. This article reviews the contaminants that develop in the water distribution system and their characteristics, as well as the possible transition effects during the switching of treated water quality by destabilization and the release of pipe material and contaminants into the water and the subsequent risks. At the end of this article, a framework is proposed for the evaluation of potential transition effects.

Corrosion Scales in Distribution Systems, Northern Pakistan

Baig SA, Lou Z, Baig MA, Qasim M, Shams DF, Mahmood Q, Xu X. Assessment of tap water quality and corrosion scales from the selected distribution systems in northern Pakistan. Environ Monit Assess. 2017 Apr;189(4):194. doi: 10.1007/s10661-017-5907-5.

Corrosion deposits formed within drinking water distribution systems deteriorate drinking water quality and resultantly cause public health consequences. In the present study, an attempt was made to investigate the concurrent conditions of corrosion scales and the drinking water quality in selected water supply schemes (WSS) in districts Chitral, Peshawar, and Abbottabad, northern Pakistan. Characterization analyses of the corrosion by-products revealed the presence of α-FeOOH, γ-FeOOH, Fe3O4, and SiO2 as major constituents with different proportions. The constituents of all the representative XRD peaks of Peshawar WSS were found insignificant as compared to other WSS, and the reason could be the variation of source water quality. Well-crystallized particles in SEM images indicated the formation of dense oxide layer on corrosion by-products. A wider asymmetric vibration peak of SiO2 appeared only in Chitral and Abbottabad WSS, which demonstrated higher siltation in the water source. One-way ANOVA analysis showed significant variations in pH, turbidity, TDS, K, Mg, PO4, Cl, and SO4 values, which revealed that these parameters differently contributed to the source water quality. Findings from this study suggested the implementation of proper corrosion prevention measures and the establishment of international collaboration for best corrosion practices, expertise, and developing standards.

Phosphate Adsorption Using a Novel Filter Substrate

Wang W, Ma C, Zhang Y, Yang S, Shao Y, Wang X. Phosphate adsorption performance of a novel filter substrate made from drinking water treatment residuals. Journal of Environmental Sciences (China). 2016 Jul;45:191-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jes.2016.01.010. Epub 2016 Feb 26.

Phosphate is one of the most predominant pollutants in natural waters. Laboratory experiments were conducted to investigate the phosphate adsorption performance of a (NFS) made from drinking water treatment residuals. The adsorption of phosphate on the NFS fitted well with the Freundlich isotherm and pseudo second-order kinetic models. At pH 7.0, the maximum adsorption capacity of 1.03mg/g was achieved at 15°C corresponding to the wastewater temperature in cold months, and increased notably to 1.31mg/g at 35°C. Under both acidic conditions (part of the adsorption sites was consumed) and basic conditions (negative charges formed on the surface of NFS, which led to a static repulsion of PO4(3-) and HPO4(2-)), the adsorption of phosphate was slightly inhibited. Further study showed that part of the adsorption sites could be recovered by 0.25mol/L NaOH. The activation energy was calculated to be above 8.0kJ/mol, indicating that the adsorption of phosphate on NFS was probably a chemical process. Considering the strong phosphate adsorption capacity and recoverability, NFS showed great promise on enhancing phosphate removal from the secondary treated wastewater in the filtration process.

Water Resources Contamination, Democratic Republic of Congo

Kilunga PI, Kayembe JM, Laffite A, Thevenon F, Devarajan N, Mulaji CK, Mubedi JI, Yav ZG, Otamonga JP, Mpiana PT, Poté J. The impact of hospital and urban wastewaters on the bacteriological contamination of the water resources in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Journal of Environmental Science and Health. Part A, Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering. 2016 Jul 7:1-9.

Although the United Nations General Assembly recognized in 2010 the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential to the full enjoyment of life and all other human rights, the contamination of water supplies with faecal pathogens is still a major and unsolved problem in many parts of the world. In this study, faecal indicator bacteria (FIB), including Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Enterococcus (ENT), were quantified over the period of June/July 2014 and June/July 2015 to assess the quality of hospital effluents (n = 3: H1, H2 and H3) and of rivers receiving wastewaters from the city of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. The water and sediment samples from the river-receiving systems were collected in, upstream and downstream of the hospital outlet pipe (HOP) discharge. The analysis of E. coli and ENT inwater and sediment suspension was performed using the cultural membrane filter method. The FIB characterization was performed for general E. coli, Enterococcus faecalis(E. faecalis) and human-specific Bacteroides by PCR using specific primers. The results revealed very high FIB concentration in the hospital effluent waters, with E. coli reaching the values of 4.2 × 105, 16.1 × 105 and 5.9 × 105 CFU 100 mL-1, for the hospital effluents from H1, H2, and H3, respectively; and Enterococcus reaching the values of 2.3 × 104, 10.9 × 104 and 4.1 × 104 CFU 100 mL-1, respectively. Interestingly, the FIB levels in the water and sediment samples from river-receiving systems are spatially and temporally highly variable and present in some samples with higher values than the hospital effluents. The PCR assays for human-specific Bacteroides HF183/HF134 further indicate that more than 98% of bacteria were from human origin. The results of this research therefore confirm the hypothesis of our previous studies, indicating that in developing countries (e.g., Democratic Republic of Congo and South India), the hospital effluent waters can be a significant source of the deterioration of the bacteriological quality for urban rivers. The approach used in this investigation can be further used to decipher the pollution of water resources by human faecal contamination. The results of this research will help to better understand the microbiological pollution problems in river-receiving systems and will guide municipality decisions on improving the urbanwater quality.