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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Drinking Water from Agriculturally Contaminated Groundwater


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 20 No. 4, p. 707-717
    Received: Oct 23, 1989

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. James A. Goodrich *,
  2. Benjamin W. Lykins Jr. and
  3. Robert M. Clark
  1. Systems and Field Evaluation Branch, Risk Reduction Eng. Lab., U.S. EPA, Cincinnati, OH,
    Drinking Water Res. Div., Risk Reduction Eng. Lab., U.S. EPA, Cincinnati, OH.



Sharp increases in fertilizer and pesticide use throughout the 1960s and 1970s along with generally less attachment to soil particles may result in more widespread contamination of drinking water supplies. The purpose of this study was to highlight the use of agricultural chemicals and their occurrence in groundwater while focusing on the engineering processes available for removing them to acceptable limits for consumers. Through various case studies and field-scale research projects, several different drinking water treatment technologies have been evaluated for their capability removing various groundwater contaminants. Both central treatment and individual household point of entry devices were studied. Treatment options vary depending on the types of contaminants to be removed. Best available technology consists of ion exchange or reverse osmosis for removing nitrates, granular activated C for removing non-volatile synthetic organics, and air stripping for volatile synthetic organics. Since there is no single treatment for all contaminants, a homeowner or individual community will have to evaluate their particular situation and possibly select a treatment scheme or combination of technologies to provide the best cost-effective solution.

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