Arsenic in Groundwater in Eastern New England - Research Proposal Example

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Arsenic is a chemical substance found in several minerals underground in combination with metals or a pure crystal element (Bundschuh, Bhattacharya & Chandrasekharam, 2005). Eastern New England is one of main areas recording high concentrations of arsenic. For instance, the…
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Arsenic in Groundwater in Eastern New England
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Arsenic in Groundwater in Eastern New England Preview and background information Arsenic is a chemical substance found in several minerals underground in combination with metals or a pure crystal element (Bundschuh, Bhattacharya & Chandrasekharam, 2005). Eastern New England is one of main areas recording high concentrations of arsenic. For instance, the concentration is greater than 10microg/L. Despite some benefits associated with the element, it causes some environmental problems. One of the most conspicuous problems is arsenic poisoning of groundwater (Ravenscroff, Brammer & Keith, 2011).
This element occurs naturally thus, released from rock sediments and into the water due to anoxic conditions within the subsurface. In eastern New England, the high concentrations of Arsenic occur in groundwater. Several researches have established that underground water contains arsenic due to bedrock geology (Environmental Science and Technology, 2006). A sample of 790 groundwater test samples from bedrocks within Maine and Augusta revealed that 31 of the samples contain arsenic greater than 10 milligrams per litre.
Analysis of the problem
High amount of geogenic arsenic within subsurface water in eastern New England has generated a lot of public health concern within US and the entire world. With a population of approximately 103, 000 majority of the inhabitant have private wells that supply drinking water. A large proportion of these wells have not complied with the requirement of Maximum Containment Level (MCL), which is 10 μg/L worldwide (De, Belkin & Lima, 2008). This situation increases exposure of the people using water from these wells to arsenic element. In this scenario, anthropogenic activities such as lumbering, use of pesticides and manufacturing contribute immensely to high levels of the element in groundwater (Henke, 2009). The private well owners by not complying with the MCL recommendations contribute to high increase in arsenic in drinking water drawn from the wells. However, drinking water drawn from unconsolidated aquifers contains less concentration of arsenic.
Naturally, unconsolidated sedimentary rocks as well as bedrock aquifers contain arsenic. High concentrations of the chemicals are in glacial, alluvial, and volcanic basins occupied by sedimentary aquifers. In most instances, high concentrations of arsenic in groundwater occur due to geologic units in earth. These include Eliot formation, Berwick Formation, Rangeley Formation, and Ayer granodiorite (De, Belkin & Lima, 2008). Consequently, wells lying on metasedimentary bedrocks in New Hampshire and Maine produce water with the highest concentration of the element. According to large-scale surveys in US, geology is responsible for high increases of arsenic in groundwater. Moreover, water with high pH normally contains a high amount of arsenic (De, Belkin & Lima, 2008). Additional, water with higher pH is attributed to old age thus; most underground water in eastern New England is older compared to other regions.
High concentration of Arsenic in groundwater is of human health concern. High concentrations of the element in drinking water cause cancer and other related health problems. For instance, an increased level of skin cancer is connected with exposure to arsenic (Naidu, 2006). Cancer is a dangerous disease that kills millions of people worldwide. Therefore, any chemical substance such as arsenic that facilitates the development of cancer to human beings should be discouraged and avoided. Therefore, the Federal government should take necessary steps to ensure that human exposure to arsenic is greatly minimized. With such steps taken, residents of eastern New England would record low rates of cancer attributed to arsenic.
Bundschuh, J., Bhattacharya, P., Chandrasekharam, D. (2005). Natural Arsenic in Ground water: Occurrence, Remediation and Management. Leiden: A. A. Balkema Publishers.
De, V. B., Belkin, H. E., & Lima, A. (2008). Environmental geochemistry: Site characterization, data analysis and case histories. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Henke, K. R. (2009). Arsenic: Environmental chemistry, health threats, and waste treatment. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Journal Article in Environmental Science and Technology, (2006), v. 40 (11) pp 3578 - 3585
Modeling the Probability of Arsenic in Groundwater in New England as a Tool for Exposure Assessment. DOI: 10.1021/es051972f
Naidu, R. (2006). Managing arsenic in the environment: From soil to human health. Collingwood, VIC: CSIRO.
Ravenscroff, P., Brammer, H., & Keith, R. (2011). Arsenic Pollution: A Global Synthesis. New Jersey: Wiley- Blackwell. Read More
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