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Effects of groundwater metal contaminant spatial distribution on overlaying kriged maps

Fallah, Bahareh, Richter, Amy, Ng, Kelvin Tsun Wai, Salama, Amgad
Environmental science and pollution research international 2019 v.26 no.22 pp. 22945-22957
Canadians, aquifers, arsenic, drinking water, geostatistics, groundwater, groundwater contamination, heavy metals, iron, kriging, landfills, manganese, monitoring, risk, semiarid zones, water quality, wells
Groundwater is a major source of drinking water for many Canadians, and contamination by heavy metals poses a significant risk to people and the environment. In this study, three water quality indices are studied in the vicinity of an unlined landfill in a semiarid climate. The study investigates indices using geostatistical analysis and ordinary kriging. This study employs a novel coupling technique in order to compare the index-based maps to a groundwater quality map from overlapping heavy metal kriged maps. A total of 11 heavy metals were evaluated in preliminary analysis, but only four (Mn, As, Fe, and U) had higher concentrations than allowable limits in some or all of the monitoring wells at the site. Results from mean-based classification of indices suggest the aquifer in proximity to the landfill has been impacted by metal contaminants. Kriged maps show that the spatial variations of Mn and U are similar, while results of Fe and As are also similar. However, the two sets of maps have distinctly different patterns. Maps for indices show an elevated plateau extending from the unlined landfill to the southeast corner, implying that the landfill may have negatively impacted groundwater quality. A groundwater quality map is developed by overlaying the heavy metal maps. The resulting map shows that the north and west parts of the study have lower groundwater pollution with respect to metal contaminants. The groundwater quality map may be more applicable for practitioners who need comprehensive water quality measurement.