Arsenic in Groundwater

Arsenic in groundwater – a world problem

Symposium organised by IAH’s Dutch Chapter and the Netherlands’ Hydrological Society, 29 November 2006, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Arsenic contamination of groundwater has occurred in various parts of the world, most notably the Ganges Delta of Bangladesh and West Bengal, India, causing serious arsenic poisoning amongst large numbers of people. It is a natural occurring high concentration of arsenic in deeper levels of groundwater, which became a high-profile problem in recent years due to the use of deep tube wells for water supply in the Ganges Delta. Parts of Thailand, Taiwan, Argentina, Chile and China have also been affected.

Approximately 20 incidents of groundwater arsenic contamination have been reported from all over the world. Of these, four major incidents were in Asia. Research on the occurrence and effects of arsenic in groundwater and drinking water is ongoing. Questions under research are, amongst others: in what concentrations is arsenic a threat to health?; what is the behaviour of arsenic in different environments?; under what conditions will arsenic be mobilised?; what are the threats of arsenic poisoning to humanity? Also in the Netherlands relatively small amounts of arsenic have been found, giving rise to research into the causes, occurrence and possible effects of arsenic in the Dutch subsoil.

The theme of the symposium was divided between a part about the Netherlands’ situation (morning) and the global dimension of arsenic in groundwater and drinking water.


acrobat_icon Report by Michael van der Valk [PDF, 487 kbyte]

acrobat_icon Publication «Arsenic in Groundwater» [PDF, 2.99 Mbyte]


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