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Ground Water Pollution

Artificially induced degradation of natural ground

water quality
It can impair the use of water
Hazardous to public health through toxicity or
spreading disease
Large number of causes for modifying the quality
of ground water
Outbreak of Cholera in London in 1854
Jaundice attack in and after the rainy season
In contrast of surface pollution, it is difficult to
detect groundwater pollution
Efforts are increasing to prevent, reduce and
eliminate groundwater pollution

Standards for Drinking

WHO, 1984

pH = 6.5 to 8.5
Total Hardness:
Soft: 0 - 17.1, Slightly hard: 17.1 60
Moderately hard: 60 120
Hard: 120 180
Very Hard: 180 & above
EC= 1-100 S/cm

Pollution in relation to Water Use

Limitless pollutants in Groundwater
Parameters/ constituents involved in the analysis

of groundwater
Chemical Pollutants
Organic: organic carbon, phenols, detergents etc
Inorganic: Acidity, Alkalinity, Aluminum, Arsenic, Nitrogen,
Nickel, Sodium, Potassium etc

Biological: Coliform bacteria,

Physical: Colour, Odour, Temperature, Turbidity etc.
Radiological: Tritium, Uranium, Thorium, Barium,
Cerium, Cesium etc

Sources of Ground Water Pollution

Point Source
Non-point source

Municipal Sources and causes

Sewer Leakage
Common Occurrence from old sewers, because of poor
workmanship, defective pipe, breakage by tree roots, ruptures
from heavy loads/ soil slippage and fractures from seismic
Liquid Wastes (waste water in urban areas)
Water from domestic uses, industries and storm runoff
Land application of municipal waste water is used in one of
the following manner
overland flow leading to runoff collection in pits

It can introduce bacteria, viruses in addition to organic and

inorganic chemicals
Solid Waste: very important source of ground water
pollution, concept of landfill

Very sever in areas of shallow water table and high rainfall

Industrial Source and Causes

Liquid waste: varies with the type of industry as

water is used in cooling, sanitation and

manufacturing processes
Sometimes put into deep saline aquifers far below
developed freshwater aquifers. Rare sources of

Tank and Pipeline Leakage: Oils spillage from

tanks and leakage from gasoline stations and

home fuel oil tanks
Mining Activities: depends on the material being
extracted. Coal, Phosphate and Uranium, iron
copper, lead and zinc. Dewatering from mines are
highly mineralized

Industrial Source and Causes


Oilfield Brines: production of oil and gas is

often associated with substantial discharge

of brine having constituents- sodium,
calcium, ammonia, boron, chloride,
sulphate and high total dissolved salts
Common disposal method: discharge into
the streams or evaporation ponds, leads to
infiltration and pollutes aquifers
Most recent methods include deep injection
into saline formations

Agricultural Sources
Irrigation return flows: one half to two third

water is consumed in evapotranspiration

and the remainder termed as irrigation
return flow
Irrigation return flow is three to ten times
more saline
Addition salts by dissolution, addition of
fertilizers, soils amendments and
concentration by evapotranspiration

Agricultural Sources


Animal waste
Fertilizer (Nitrogen) and soil amendments

(addition of lime gypsum and sulfur)

Pesticides: most pesticides are relatively
insoluble in water

Miscellaneous Sources and causes

Spills and Surface discharge
Stockpiles: Stockpiling of solid material

near industrial plants

Septic tanks
Road Deicing
Saline water intrusion
Interchange through wells
Surface water

Methodology for monitoring

Groundwater quality

Selection of the area/ basin to be monitored

Geophysical methods for determining GW quality
Identification of sources of pollution
Defining groundwater usage in terms of location, type of use
and quantity
Local hydrological situation
Evaluation of local groundwater quality
Evaluation of mobility of pollutants
Attenuation of pollutants within saturated zone
Prioritize the sources and causes
Determination of monitoring activities already exist
Determination of methods, location & frequencies of monitoring

Selection and implementation of monitoring programme

on prioritized basis
Review and interpretation of monitored data
Summarize and transmission of info to monitoring agency

Management of Groundwater
Maximum development of groundwater resources

for beneficial use involves planning in terms of

entire groundwater basin
Basin: large natural underground reservoir which
is interdependent on each user
Geological, hydrological, socio-economic, legal,
political and financial aspects
Optimum economic development of water
resources in an area requires an integrated
approach that coordinates the use of both surface
and groundwater resources

Concept of Basin Management

Desired goal is to obtain the maximum

quantity of water to meet predetermined

quality requirement at least cost
Implies a programme of development and
utilization of subsurface water for some
stated purpose, usually of a social or
economic nature

Advantages/ Disadvantages of Surface &

Subsurface Reservoirs
Many large capacity sites
Slight to no evaporation
Requires little land area
Slight to no danger of
catastrophic structural fail
Uniform water temperature
High Biological purity
Safe from immediate
radioactive fall out
Serve as conveyance
system (Canals/ pipelines
from others land

Few new sites available
High evaporation losses
Require large land area
Ever present danger of
catastrophic failures
Fluctuating water temperature
Easily contaminated
Easily contaminated by
Water must be conveyed:
surface pipelines/ canals are
the prerequisites

Advantages/ Disadvantages
Water must be pumped
Storage & conveyance use
Water may be mineralized
Minor flood control value
Limited Flow at any point
Power Head usually no
Difficult & costly to
manage, evaluate and
Recharge depends on
surplus flows
Recharge water may
require expensive treatment

Water available by gravity

Multiple use
Relatively low mineral content
Maximum flood control value
Large flows
Power Head available

Relatively easy to evaluate,

investigate and manage
Recharge depend on annual
No treatment of recharge water
Little maintenance required of
the facilities

Equation of hydrologic Equilibrium

Knowledge of quantity is prerequisite.
This requires evaluation of elements

constituting hydrologic cycle

(Surface flow+ subsurface flow+ precipitation +
imported water + decrease in surface storage +
decrease in ground water storage) =

(Surface outflow+ subsurface outflow+

Consumptive use (evapotranspiration) + increase in
surface storage + increase in ground water

Flow Diagram of Nat. Hydrologic System


Land Surface


Sur. Water Bodies



Aeration Zone
Capillary rise


Down percolation

Saturation Zone

& Spring


Base Flow

Data Collection and Field Work

Topographic data: contour maps, aerial

photographs, benchmarks etc

Geologic Data
Hydrologic data

Surface inflow-outflow
Consumptive use
Changes in surface storage
Changes in Ground water storage
Subsurface Inflow-outflow