How Does Groundwater Become Polluted?
Just like any body of water, groundwater can become polluted. Water pollution is a problem in many areas of the world.
So, how does groundwater become polluted? Groundwater becomes polluted when contaminants are discharged into the ground and travel directly down to the groundwater’s level.
Although this is the most popular form of groundwater pollution, it is not the only form. Groundwater pollution can also occur naturally. When it occurs naturally it is often considered a contamination instead of a pollution. This happens when there is a large amount of substance that should not be in the water.
In this case, the pollutant will travel and cause the entire body of water to become contaminated. The reason the entire body of water is considered contaminated after it has been discovered that a contamination has occurred is that the polluting factor will create a plume in the aquifer.
A plume occurs when the movement of the groundwater pushes the polluting factors down into the entire body of water. In an advanced form, the contaminants can intersect with groundwater wells or even surface into streams, seeps, rivers, and lakes. If such a thing does happen, these bodies of water are considered undrinkable for humans as well as all wildlife.
Some sources of groundwater pollution can come from many different resources, such as sanitation systems, landfills, water waste, plants, leaking sewers, fertilizers, and much more. If the sources of groundwater become naturally contaminated, chances are it was contaminated by arsenic or a fluid that has somehow seeped into the ground.
When contamination occurs it is time to begin the groundwater remediation. Ground water remediation is the process of cleaning out the water. However, the main problem with groundwater contamination is how difficult it is to treat. It is a lot more difficult to treat groundwater than it is to treat surface water. The reason for this is ground water can move a lot quicker through unseen aquifers and reach greater lengths without being detected.
However, nonporous aquifers such as clay can partially clean the contamination through a natural filtration process. Even though it is possible to partially clean the contamination through this process, most of it transforms into soil contaminants.
In order to clean the contaminated groundwater, you need to use various techniques that will make the water safe to use again. Groundwater biological treatment techniques include bioaugmentation, bio venting, bio sparging, bio slurping, and phytoremediation. These can be done separately or combined depending on the amount of pollution that needs to be extracted from the water.
Once these techniques have taken place, you must test the water multiple times to ensure it is consumable by humans as well as wildlife. If the water is not fully cleaned, another groundwater treatment must take place to further clean the contaminated water. The idea is to repeat the process until the contaminant is fully removed, and the water can be consumed again.
Usually, this process does not need to be repeated more than once. However, there have been instances where the water needed to be cleaned several times.
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