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Constraints on sustainable development of arsenic-bearing aquifers in southern Bangladesh. Part 2: Preliminary models of arsenic variability in pumped groundwater

Cuthbert, Mark, Burgess, W. G. and Connell, L. 2002. Constraints on sustainable development of arsenic-bearing aquifers in southern Bangladesh. Part 2: Preliminary models of arsenic variability in pumped groundwater. Geological Society, Special Publications 193 (1) , pp. 165-179. 10.1144/GSL.SP.2002.193.01.13

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Abstract

Numerical models of groundwater flow and arsenic transport to tubewells in southern Bangladesh have been developed, based on a conceptual model derived from field observations. The catchment of a single hand-pumped tubewell (HTW) is incorporated within a model domain 8110m2 in area and 60m thick. Three tubewell specifications represent typical Bangladesh HTW designs. Constant-concentration cells act as a single-layered arsenic source, arranged to represent the observed depth distribution of arsenic in the aquifer and the range of possible patterns of overlap between HTW catchments and discontinuous zones of arsenic release from sediment to groundwater. A variety of sorption regimes is simulated, and sensitivity to sorption is illustrated. Boundary conditions are modified to simulate the effects of deep production wells. The models reproduce the observed scale and range of arsenic concentration in groundwater pumped from HTWs, and demonstrate likely long-term trends. Breakthrough of arsenic to HTWs may occur a few years after the start of pumping, but at many tubewells the concentration of arsenic could continue to rise significantly over tens to hundreds of years. Spatial distributions and depth profiles of arsenic in groundwater from tubewells should be viewed as transient in the long term. These preliminary models allow implications for the sustainability of the shallow alluvial aquifer to be quantified provisionally. The mechanisms and scale of sorption of arsenic by the aquifer sediments remain as significant uncertainties.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Publisher: Geological Society
ISSN: 0305-8719
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2017 14:50
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/105452

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