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Ensuring cleaner groundwater near contaminated areas

As the world becomes increasingly reliant on groundwater resources to augment fresh water supply, strategies are being developed to deal with the implications of groundwater abstraction in areas where contamination plumes exist, with the aim of avoiding contaminated groundwater reaching receptors.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Network for Industrially Contaminated Land in Africa in Midrand late in 2018, Lindsay Shand, principal environmental geologist, SRK, presented a method developed from unconventional oil and gas drilling (UOGD) methods. Shand highlighted the problem that the normal process of abstracting groundwater in shallow aquifers could itself lead to contamination of the source, if there is a contamination plume nearby.

"The abstraction of groundwater from an open borehole or high-yield zone in close proximity to a contamination plume could result in the preferential migration of the plume towards the borehole, ultimately resulting in contamination of the groundwater being used," she said.

Author: Lindsay Shand | Principal Environmental Geologist

SRK Africa