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Predicting geogenic contamination of groundwater resources in the uncharted Amazon Basin

English title Predicting geogenic contamination of groundwater resources in the uncharted Amazon Basin
Applicant Berg Michael
Number 165913
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Wasserressourcen und Trinkwasser EAWAG
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology - EAWAG
Main discipline Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Start/End 01.11.2016 - 31.10.2018
Approved amount 259'700.00
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All Disciplines (4)

Discipline
Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Hydrology, Limnology, Glaciology
Geochemistry
Geology

Keywords (11)

Groundwater; Geogenic contamination; Decision tools; Modeling; Arsenic; Risk identification; Geochemistry; Water management; Health prevention; Manganese; Trace elements

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Mit geogenen Schadstoffen verunreinigtes Grundwasser ist ein grosses Gesundheitsrisiko wenn es ohne Behandlung als Trinkwasser verwendet wird. Weltweit sind etwa 200 Millionen Menschen betroffen wovon duzende Millionen unter schweren Vergiftungen leiden. Typischerweise entwickeln sich Krankheitssymptome erst nach mehrjähriger Exposition. Die frühzeitige Lokalisierung von kontaminiertem Grundwasser, aber auch von qualitativ guten Grundwasservorkommen ist daher besonders wichtig für die Gesundheitsprävention. In den letzten Jahren wurden Risikomodellierungen zur Vorhersage und geogener Grundwasserverunreinigung entwickelt, v.a. bezüglich Arsen und Fluorid. Erste regionale und globale Risikokarten für Arsen basieren auf geologischen Daten und geochemischen Prozesskenntnissen in Südostasien, deren Anwendbarkeit in anderen Kontinenten überprüft werden muss. Für das Amazonasbecken in Südamerika sind Informationen und wissenschaftliche Studien zur Wasserqualität bisher nahezu inexistent.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojekts

Unser übergeordnetes Ziel ist die Weiterentwicklung der räumlichen Risikomodellierung von geogenen Grundwasserschadstoffen am Beispiel des bisher unerforschten Amazonasbeckens. Dafür werden wir (i) die Anwendbarkeit der Modelle aus Asien für das Amazonasbecken überprüfen, (ii) ein Risikomodell für die Amazonasregion entwickeln, und (iii) die gewonnenen Erkenntnisse anwenden um Modelle in anderen Weltregionen zu verbessern.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext des Forschungsprojekts

Unsere Forschung wird wichtige Grundlagen schaffen über Prozesse die das Vorkommen von geogenen Schadstoffen beeinflussen. Unsere flächendeckende Risikokartierung wird von grossem Nutzen sein für die Bevölkerung, für Behörden sowie Forscher aus Medizin und Naturwissenschaften.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 13.10.2016

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Name Institute

Publications

Publication
Exploring arsenic and other geogenic groundwater contaminants in the vast and scarcely studied Amazon Basin
de Meyer Caroline M.C., Berg Michael, Rodriguez Juan, Carpio Edward, Garcia Pilar, Wahnfried Ingo (2019), Exploring arsenic and other geogenic groundwater contaminants in the vast and scarcely studied Amazon Basin, in Naidu Ravi, Bhattacharya Prosun, Ahmad Arslan, Bundschuh Jochen, Guo Huaming, Zhu Yongguan (ed.), CRC Press, London, 50.
Groundwater Assessment Platform (GAP): A new GIS tool for risk forecasting and mitigation of geogenic groundwater contamination
Berg Michael, Podgorski Joel E. (2019), Groundwater Assessment Platform (GAP): A new GIS tool for risk forecasting and mitigation of geogenic groundwater contamination, in Ahmad Arslan, Bundschuh Jochen, Guo Huaming, Bhattacharya Prosun, Naidu Ravi, Zhu Yongguan (ed.), CRC Press, London, 5.
Arsenic, manganese and aluminum contamination in groundwater resources of Western Amazonia (Peru)
de Meyer Caroline M.C., Rodríguez Juan M., Carpio Edward A., García Pilar A., Stengel Caroline, Berg Michael (2017), Arsenic, manganese and aluminum contamination in groundwater resources of Western Amazonia (Peru), in Science of The Total Environment, 607, 1437-1450.

Datasets

Arsenic, manganese and aluminum contamination in groundwater resources of Western Amazonia (Peru)

Author de Meyer, Caroline M.C.; Rodríguez, Juan M.; Carpio, Edward A.; García, Pilar A.; Stengel, Caroline; Berg, Michael
Publication date 01.12.2017
Persistent Identifier (PID) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.07.059
Repository Supplementary Data Table (.xlsx format)
Abstract
Supplementary Data Table (.xlsx format). Database of measured elements, major ions and further parameters in groundwater of Western Amazonia, PeruAlso available in PDF format from institutional repository:https://www.dora.lib4ri.ch/eawag/islandora/object/eawag%3A15112/datastream/PDF3/de_Meyer-2017-Arsenic%2C_manganese_and_aluminum_contamination-%28supplemental_material_c422b8bd%29.pdf

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
PAHO, Pan Amercan Health Organization, Lima Peru (South America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Geosciences Department, Universidade Federal do Amazonas, Manaus Brazil (South America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería, Lima Peru (South America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Goldschmidt Conference 2018 Poster Geogenic arsenic and manganese in anoxic riverbank groundwater along the Amazon River 12.08.2018 Boston, United States of America Berg Michael; de Meyer Caroline;
7th International Congress on Arsenic in the Environment 2018 Talk given at a conference Exploring arsenic and other geogenic groundwater contaminants in the vast and scarcely studied Amazon Basin 01.07.2018 Beijing, China Berg Michael; de Meyer Caroline;
European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2018 Talk given at a conference Arsenic contamination of groundwater resources in the Amazon Basin: An emerging health concern? 08.04.2018 Wien, Austria Berg Michael; de Meyer Caroline;
European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2018 Poster Exploring the use of Earth-observation data for risk assessment of arsenic contaminated groundwater 08.04.2018 Wien, Austria Berg Michael; de Meyer Caroline;
XI SEMANA DE GEOLOGIA (XI SEGEO) Universidade Federal do Amazonas (UFAM) Talk given at a conference Sampling of household tube well-water for hydrochemical analysis 25.10.2017 Manaus, Brazil de Meyer Caroline;
ICOBTE, International Conference on the Biogeochemistry of Trace Elements 2017 Talk given at a conference Distribution of arsenic and other geogenic trace elements in groundwater resources of the Amazon Basin 17.07.2017 Zürich, Switzerland Berg Michael; de Meyer Caroline;
14th Swiss Geoscience Meeting, Geneva 2016 Talk given at a conference Geogenic trace elements in groundwater resources of the Amazon region 18.11.2016 Geneva, Switzerland Berg Michael; de Meyer Caroline;


Knowledge transfer events



Self-organised

Title Date Place
“Tambo de Agua”, Communication of results to Peruvian authorities 06.09.2018 Lima, Peru
Sampling of household tube well-water for hydrochemical analysis, Universidade Federal do Amazonas 25.10.2017 Manaus, Brazil

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Arsenic and manganese contamination in Amazonia groundwater Eawag media release, 11.04.2018 International Western Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland 2018
Media relations: print media, online media Arsenic contamination of groundwater resources in the Amazon Basin: An emerging health concern? EGU 2018, International Press Conference, Vienna International 2018
Media relations: radio, television Les dégâts de l’arsenic dans l’eau potable Radio Suisse Romande (RSR), 01.05.2018 Western Switzerland 2018

Abstract

The goal of this research project is to further develop the concept of geospatial risk modeling of geogenic contaminants in groundwater by targeting the so-far uncharted Amazon Basin.Geogenic contaminants in groundwater pose severe health threats by chronic ingestion when used as drinking water. Globally, some 200 million people are at risk. An important step in mitigation is to localize safe and unsafe groundwater sources, as typical health symptoms often only become visible after long-term exposure. In recent years, there has been a lot of progress made in the risk modeling of geogenic groundwater contamination, mainly regarding the reductive dissolution of arsenic. Our previous research has identified a relatively small number of geological and hydrogeochemical parameters as significant spatial proxies that can be used to predict the regional distribution of high and low arsenic concentrations across entire regions, even in areas without survey data. To date, these models rely mainly on the hydrogeological context of Southeast Asia, although the geogenic contamination of groundwater seems to be a global problem. It remains unknown if significant proxies determined for the arsenic-contaminated basins in Southeast Asia are globally applicable. Therefore, the validity of this approach needs to be scrutinized in other parts of the world in order to improve the effectiveness of the geospatial prediction of groundwater quality at local and global scales. We have chosen to expand our work into the Amazon Basin due to its size and unique geologic and hydrological settings. Both the similarities as well as the differences to Southeast Asia make the Amazon Basin a priority target region for further research of geospatial risk modeling. We have strong initial indications for reducing subsurface environments in the Amazon region. It remains to be investigated whether this leads to the accumulation of redox-sensitive elements in groundwater and, in particular, which geological and geochemical factors are decisive, as there is a large gap in the overall knowledge regarding the groundwater composition of the Amazon.Hence, we seek funding for a two-year postdoctoral researcher (experienced geologist or soil scientist) to: (i) collect, interpret, classify, and unify geological information and geospatial data on the soil classification, climate, and topography of the Amazon region from various sources and at various resolutions and (ii) compile the geospatial information with groundwater composition data to determine proxies for geochemical conditions to identify aquifers that are highly likely to be affected by arsenic contamination. We will start by setting up an initial Amazon model [Model(i)] that adopts the spatial predictors of the models for Southeast Asia. This initial model will be expanded by identifying predictors that are specific to the Amazon basin [Model(AM)]. (iii) The postdoctoral researcher will also collect and analyze groundwater in selected areas that are representative of the main depositional environments. The resulting data will be an integral part of the calibration and verification of our model [Model(AM)]. Our surveys should complement pre-existing data and be guided by the initial model, particularly to have a good basis for statistical modeling. (iv) The researcher will also compare our Model(AM) with the Southeast Asian and global models. The investigation of contamination processes and the modeling of groundwater arsenic contamination in the Amazon Basin will provide important insight into the development of modeling strategies for the enrichment of geogenic contaminants in global shallow aquifers. The final product will be a geospatial risk map pinpointing areas of safe and unsafe groundwater resources, which will serve as a basis for decision makers and researchers of various disciplines.
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