Water Infiltration And The Transportation Of Contaminants From Anthropogenic Activities

Water Infiltration And The Transportation Of Contaminants From Anthropogenic Activities

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An ever increasing problem in our society is the introduction of contaminants into our water supply. Water infiltration and the transportation of contaminants from anthropogenic activities into aquifers present a health risk to human populations. This problem is more extreme in areas of poverty wherein proper restrictions are not in place, but is still present in developed nations such as the United States and Canada. Because of agricultural byproducts, landfills, and industrial waste polluting groundwater in fractured rock (Levison, J.K., and Novakowski, K.S) and the vulnerability of aquifer to contaminant transport (Masciopinto, C., Caputo, M.C., De Carlo, L., and Nimmo, J.R.), populations dependent upon ground water for their primary or secondary water source maintain are at risk for finance and health problems.
The USGS defines an aquifer as, “[t]he water that fills the spaces between soil particles and fractured rock beneath the earth’s surface (Ground water, 1999).” If there is a usable quantity of water within unconsolidated deposits or rock fractures, it is termed an aquifer. Groundwater is stored in and moves through aquifers. Humans access groundwater in aquifers for consumption, irrigation, and economic use. As shown in Figure 1, at least seven states within the United States rely on ground water more than surface water (lakes, rivers, etc.) (Ground water, 1999).

Figure 1.1. Total withdrawals in million gallons per day organized by state within the United States.
According to the CDC (centers for disease control and prevention), “[t]here are many sources of water contamination, including naturally occurring chemicals and minerals (for example, arsenic, radon, uranium), local land use practices (fertilizers, pesticide...


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...s and hazardous waste landfill sites were exempt from this government oversight and continue to contribute to ground water contamination (“Water Encyclopedia”).
Ground water is susceptible to contamination via agriculture, landfills, and industrial waste removal, which may then harm humans, the environment, and economic pursuits. Contaminants may be introduced into groundwater via three primary mechanisms. Locations in Perth, Londonderry, and Denver were all subject to ground water contamination via anthropogenic causes. At this point, it is improbable that North America can ensure 100% pure ground water but some remediation techniques and proactive, preventative measures should be heeded to mitigate the damage that has occurred. Further restrictions must be placed on agrochemical and industrial waste removal; techniques to remove existing waste should be explored.

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