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Performance assessments of a novel well design for reducing exposure to bedrock‐derived arsenic

October 1, 2018

Arsenic in groundwater is a serious problem in New England, particularly for domestic well owners drawing water from bedrock aquifers. The overlying glacial aquifer generally has waters with low arsenic concentrations but is less used because of frequent loss of well water during dry periods and the vulnerability to surface‐sourced bacterial contamination. An alternative, novel design for shallow wells in glacial aquifers is intended to draw water primarily from unconsolidated glacial deposits, while being resistant to drought conditions and surface contamination. Its use could greatly reduce exposure to arsenic through drinking water for domestic use. Hypothetical numerical models were used to investigate the potential hydraulic performance of the new well design in reducing arsenic exposure. The aquifer system was divided into two parts, an upper section representing the glacial sediments and a lower section representing the bedrock. The location of the well, recharge conditions, and hydraulic properties were systematically varied in a series of simulations and the potential for arsenic contamination was quantified by analyzing groundwater flow paths to the well. The greatest risk of arsenic contamination occurred when the hydraulic conductivity of the bedrock aquifer was high, or where there was upward flow from the bedrock aquifer because of the position of the well in the flow system.

Publication Year 2018
Title Performance assessments of a novel well design for reducing exposure to bedrock‐derived arsenic
DOI 10.1111/gwat.12603
Authors Richard B. Winston, Joseph D. Ayotte
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Groundwater
Index ID 70202132
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Research Program - Eastern Branch