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Water Quality Problem of Groundwater Pollution

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Studies
Wordcount: 3892 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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This paper is detailed on the water quality problem of groundwater pollution. Importance of groundwater, and how much we rely on it for daily activities has been discussed. How groundwater is polluted and what are the effects of pollution, sources of pollution and types of pollution are explained in detail in a later section of the paper. Effects of ground water pollution on health and ways to reduce or prevent ground water pollution has also been detailed. Along the paper its understood that groundwater plays important role in our system and we shall take steps to preserve its quality.


More than 50% of the world’s population relies on groundwater for drinking water as well as irrigation purposes. groundwater is over the levels considered safe for the use of water (aquifer), the groundwater is deemed polluted. There are three major sources of groundwater pollution: natural sources; waste disposal; and spills, leaks, and nonpoint source activities such as run-off from agricultural land.

All groundwater normally contains some disintegrated salts or minerals. These salts and minerals might be filtered from the dirt and from the aquifer materials themselves and can result in water that presents issues for human utilization, is viewed as polluted, or does not meet the optional gauges for water quality. Normal minerals or salts that may result in contaminated ground water incorporate chloride, nitrate, fluoride, iron and sulfate .3

The vast scale disposal of waste will dependably convey a hazard for genuine contamination of the earth. Waste-disposal practices the explicitly undermine ground-water run from independent sewage treatment system for individual habitations, for example, septic fields, which, starting at 2010, are the premise of sewage transfer for about 30% of US family units, to the capacity and transfer of modern wastes

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Many of the issues presented by mechanical waste emerge from the utilization of surface storerooms that depend on dissipation for transfer. These offices are otherwise called release lakes. In different sorts, the waste is blessed to receive gauges reasonable for release to surface water. The potential exists in the two kinds of sewage transfer for the development of contaminants into groundwater .4

Many of the various clean landfills in the nation are in a similar circumstance. Dilute moving and far from these locales into groundwater aquifers conveys with it an assortment of synthetic concoctions drained from the material kept in the landfills. The fluid that moves out of landfills is called leachate .3

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We present in this section some sources of groundwater pollution.

Storage Tanks: May contain chemicals, oil, gasoline, or other types of liquids and they can be located either above or below ground. There are approximately over 10 million storage tanks buried in the United States and as time passes the tanks can crack, corrode, and develop leaks. If the pollutants leak out from the tank and get into the groundwater, serious contamination can occur .1

Natural Sources: Many substances are found naturally in rocks or soils, such as iron, manganese, arsenic, chlorides, fluorides, sulfates, or radionuclides, can dissolve in ground water. Other substances found naturally, like decaying organic matter, can move as particles in ground water. Appearance of any of these substances in ground water depends on local conditions. Some substances if consumed in excessive quantities may pose a health threat; others may deliver an unwanted smell, taste, or color. Ground water that contains inadmissible concentration of these substances isn’t utilized for drinking water or other residential water utilizes except if it is treated .7

Septic Systems: available wastewater disposal framework used by homes, working environments or other purposes, that are not related with a city sewer structure. Septic frameworks are planned to bit by bit drain away human waste underground at a moderate, harmless rate. An improperly organized, found, assembled, or kept up septic system can spill microorganisms, household chemicals, and diverse contaminants into the groundwater causing troublesome issues .1

Landfills: Landfills are where our waste is taken to be covered. Landfills should have a defensive base layer to keep contaminants from getting into the water. Notwithstanding, if there is no such layer or it is broken, contaminants from the landfill (vehicle sulfuric acid, paint, family unit cleaners, and so forth.) can advance down in to the groundwater .7

Chemicals and Road Salts: The broad utilization of  chemical and road salts is another wellspring of potential groundwater tainting. chemicals incorporate items utilized on yards and farms to execute weeds and insects and to fertilize plants, and different items utilized in homes and organizations. When it rains, these synthetic substances can saturate the ground and in the long run into the water. Road salts are utilized in the wintertime to dissolve ice on streets to shield vehicles from sliding around. At the point when the ice dissolves, the salt gets washed off the streets and in the long run winds up in the water .1

Atmospheric Contaminants: Since groundwater is a part of the hydrological cycle, contaminants in different parts of the cycle, for example, the air or assortments of surface water, can in the long run be moved into our groundwater supplies .7

Further, Sources other than those above includes,

  • Improper Disposal of Hazardous Waste,
  • Drainage Wells
  • Releases and Spills from Stored Chemicals and Petroleum Products,
  • Improperly constructed wells
  • Surface Impoundments,
  • Sewers and other pipelines,
  • Pesticides and Fertilizer Use, 
  • Injection wells/Floor Drains, 
  • Mining Activities, etc.



Contaminants found in groundwater cover a wide scope of physical, inorganic chemical, organic chemical, bacteriological, and radioactive parameters. Essentially, a considerable lot of similar pollutants that play a role in surface water contamination may likely be found in polluted groundwater, although their individual significance may contrast. The following types can therefore be classified:


Pathogens: they are contained in human or creature feces can prompt groundwater contamination when they are given the chance to reach to the groundwater, making it perilous for drinking. Of the four pathogen types that are available in defecation (bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and helminths or helminth eggs), the initial three can be normally found in contaminated groundwater, though the generally substantial helminth eggs are typically sifted through by the soil network. Groundwater that is defiled with pathogens can prompt deadly fecal-oral transmission of infections, for example, cholera. On the off chance that the neighborhood hydro-geological conditions which can fluctuate inside a space of a couple of square kilometers are disregarded, pit restrooms can cause huge general health dangers by means of sullied groundwater .1


Volatile organic compounds. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a risky contaminant of groundwater. They are for the most part acquainted with nature through indiscreet modern practices. Many of these mixes were not known to be hurtful until the point that the late 1960s and it was some time before normal testing of groundwater recognized these substances in drinking water sources .1

Nitrate: Nitrates are chemical compounds that can be found in drinking water supplies. While safe in little sums, abnormal amounts of nitrates can influence people and creatures adversely. This is particularly valid for babies and pregnant ladies. Nitrates invade drinking water through a few sources. Spillover from composts is the most well-known wellspring of nitrates, yet they may likewise originate from inappropriately arranged sewage, releasing septic systems, modern waste, nourishment handling waste, and disintegration of common stores. Elevated amounts of nitrate in the body can cause methemoglobinemia, otherwise called blue infant disorder. This affliction is to a great degree uncommon, yet it is imperative to know about the dangers. The most widely recognized indication of methemoglobinemia is a pale blue shade of the skin, migraine, wooziness, shortcoming or inconvenience relaxing. Newborn children under a half year of age, pregnant ladies, grown-ups with low measures of stomach acridity, or grown-ups lacking in the methemoglobin reductase protein (which changes over methemoglobin to hemoglobin) are particularly helpless. The most extreme contaminant level for nitrates in drinking water as issued by the EPA is 10 mg/L or 10 ppm (parts per million). This dimension has been set dependent on the best accessible science to avoid potential medical issues .2

Organic. Organic pollutants can be found in groundwater, for example, insecticides and herbicides, a scope of organohalides and other chemical compound, petroleum hydrocarbons, different synthetic mixes found in personal hygiene and cosmetic products, tranquilize contamination including pharmaceutical medications and their metabolites. Inorganic pollutants may incorporate ammonia, nitrate, phosphate, heavy metals, or radionuclides .1

Arsenic. In the Ganges Plain of northern India and Bangladesh severe contamination of groundwater by normally happening arsenic influences 25% of water wells in the shallower of two local aquifers. The contamination happens in light of the fact that aquifer residue contain organic issue that produces anaerobic conditions in the aquifer. These conditions result in the microbial disintegration of iron oxides in the silt and, in this way, the arrival of the arsenic, regularly emphatically bound to press oxides, into the water. Consequently, arsenic-rich groundwater is frequently press rich, albeit auxiliary procedures regularly cloud the relationship of broke down arsenic and disintegrated press .1


Waterborne diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms that most regularly are transmitted in polluted fresh water. Disease usually results amid showering, washing, drinking, in the food prep, or consumption of contaminated food. Different types of waterborne diarrheal maladies presumably are the most noticeable precedents, and influence fundamentally children in developing nations; as indicated by the World Health Organization, such illnesses represent an expected 4.1% of the aggregate day by day worldwide weight of sickness, and cause about 1.8 million human deaths yearly.

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Drinking water containing microscopic organisms and infections can result in sicknesses, for example, hepatitis, cholera, or giardiasis. Methemoglobinemia or “blue baby disorder,” a disease influencing newborn children, can be caused by drinking water that is high in nitrates. Benzene, a segment of fuel, is a known human cancer-causing agent. The genuine wellbeing impacts of lead are well known—learning inabilities in youngsters; nerve, kidney, and liver issues; and pregnancy dangers.

Worldwide, irresistible sicknesses, for example, waterborne maladies are the main enemy of kids under five years of age and a bigger number of individuals bite the dust from perilous water every year than from all types of brutality, including war. (WHO 2002) Unsafe or deficient water, sanitation, and cleanliness cause around 3.1 percent of all passing around the world, and 3.7 percent of DALYs (incapacity balanced life years) worldwide. (WHO 2002) Unsafe water causes 4 billion instances of the runs every year, and results in 2.2 million deaths, for the most part of youngsters under five. This implies 15% of youngster passing every year are owing to looseness of the bowels – a kid kicking the bucket like clockwork. In India alone, the single biggest reason for sick wellbeing and passing among kids is looseness of the bowels, which slaughters about a large portion of a million youngsters every year. (WHO and UNICEF 2000).

People who are infected by a waterborne disease are usually confronted with related costs and not seldom with a huge financial burden. This is especially the case in less developed countries the money related misfortunes are generally caused by, for example, costs for medicinal treatment and prescription, costs for transport, special nourishment, and by the misfortune of labor. Numerous families should even pitch their property to pay for treatment in a legitimate doctor’s facility. All things considered, a family spends about 10% of the month to month families pay per individual tainted. In general, we have the following types of infections:

  • Algal Infections, with disease: Desmodesmus Infection
  • Viral infections, with diseases: SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), Hepatitis A Poliomyelitis (Polio), Polyomavirus infection.
  • Parasitic infections, with disease: Enterobiasis, Ascariasis, Coenurosis, Echinococcosis (Hydatid disease), Hymenolepiasis (Dwarf Tapeworm Infection), Fasciolopsiasis, Taeniasis,
  • Dracunculiasis (Guinea Worm Disease), Schistosomiasis (immersion).
  • Bacterial infections, with disease: Vibrio Illness, Typhoid fever, Salmonellosis, Otitis Externa (swimmer’s ear), Leptospirosis, Legionellosis (two distinct forms: Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever), Dysentery, M. marinum infection, E. coli Infection, Cholera, Campylobacteriosis, Botulism


Groundwater is the principle wellspring of drinking water and additionally agricultural and industrial utilization. Sadly, groundwater quality has been corrupted because of inappropriate waste disposal practices and incidental spillage of hazardous chemicals. In this way, it is important that the groundwater defilement be avoided and the tainted groundwater at various locales worldwide be re-intervened with the end goal to secure public well-being and the environment

Groundwater contamination can’t be anticipated totally. As there are changed sources, it isn’t constantly useful to keep the tainting of groundwater. In any case, there is no uncertainty that people can contribute from multiple points of view to decrease contamination of groundwater. A portion of the fundamental tips are appropriate transfer of waste, waterproof stockpiling of family unit chemicals (paints, meds, cleansers) and agricultural chemicals to abstain from filtering, and so forth. Legitimate establishment of septic systems alongside standard cleaning will diminish. Groundwater defilement. It is extremely troublesome and expensive to treat sullied groundwater. Thus, it is smarter to limit the danger of groundwater contamination. Open mindfulness programs about the significance of groundwater and approaches to limit its defilement ought to be actualized.

To control soil contamination caused by the waste, the accompanying methods are suggested: 1. Use of successful innovation for dumping waste like packing and covering of openings and gaps, 2. Dumping waste higher than the most elevated underground water levels, 3. Making invulnerable layers in working of land fields 4. Making waste framework for the accumulation of leachates 5. Utilizing the gasses delivered in arrive fields.

Several methods have been proven to remove nitrates, including: distillation, reverse osmosis, ion exchange, electrodialysis

The most efficient way to protect groundwater is to limit activities in recharge areas. Several federal laws help protect ground water quality. Such as:



Soil contamination is turning into a more noteworthy risk to the earth, particularly as populaces and mechanical economies extend. Groundwater quality is being expanding undermined by rural, urban and industrial                               squanders, which filter or are infused into under lying aquifers. Much of the time, the deliberation of unreasonable amounts of groundwater has brought about the becoming scarce of wells, salt-water interruption and becoming scarce of waterways that gets their streams in dry seasons from groundwater. Determination of the fitting medicinal innovation depends nearby particular components and frequently considers cleanup objectives in view of potential hazard that are defensive of human wellbeing and the earth. There are, in any case, challenges that water utilities would face, for example, building specialized and administrative abilities to configuration, introduce, work and oversee water treatment frameworks, influencing individuals to pay for treated water and building learning and mindfulness among groups about groundwater quality issues and treatment measures.


1)     Fractional operators with constant and variable order with application to geo-hydrology – Chapter 3 ground water pollution

2)     https://www.groundwater.org/get-informed/basics/whatis.html

3)     https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/groundwater-pollution

4)     Article: Ground water pollution by James Anderson.

5)     A Dictionary of Environment and Conservation, 01/2013.

6)     Ground water contamination by National Research Council Staff.

7)     “Getting Up to Speed” for section C, “Ground Water Contamination” is adapted from US EPA Seminar Publication. Wellhead Protection: A Guide for Small Communities. Chapter 3. EPA/625/R-93/002.

8)     International Journal of Engineering Research and General Science Volume 3, Issue 4, July – August 2015


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