Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
McGrory, E.R., Brown, C., Bargary, N., Hunter Williams, N., Mannix, A., Chaosheng Zhang, Henry, T., Nicholas, S., Petrunic, B.M., Daly, E., Lee, M., & Morrison, L.
Science Of The Total Environment
Arsenic contamination of drinking water in Ireland: A spatial analysis of occurrence and potential risk
In Press
Optional Fields
Arsenic; Geostatistics groundwater; WFD; Ireland; Geology
The presence of arsenic in groundwater has become a global concern due to the health risks from drinking water with elevated concentrations. The Water Framework Directive (WFD) of the European Union calls for drinking water risk assessment for member states. The present study amalgamates readily available national and sub-national scale datasets on arsenic in groundwater in the Republic of Ireland. However, due to the presence of high levels of left censoring (i.e. arsenic values below an analytical detection limit) and changes in detection limits over time, the application of conventional statistical methods would inhibit the generation of meaningful results. In order to handle these issues several arsenic databases were integrated and the data modelled using statistical methods appropriate for non-detect data. In addition, geostatistical methods were used to assess principal risk components of elevated arsenic related to lithology, aquifer type and groundwater vulnerability. Geographic statistical methods were used to overcome some of the geographical limitations of the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sample database. Nearest-neighbour inverse distance weighting (IDW) and local indicator of spatial association (LISA) methods were used to estimate risk in non-sampled areas. Significant differences were also noted between different aquifer lithologies, indicating that Rhyolite, Sandstone and Shale (Greywackes), and Impure Limestone potentially presented a greater risk of elevated arsenic in groundwaters. Significant differences also occurred among aquifer types with poorly productive aquifers, locally important fractured bedrock aquifers and regionally important fissured bedrock aquifers presenting the highest potential risk of elevated arsenic. No significant differences were detected among different groundwater vulnerability groups as defined by the Geological Survey of Ireland. This research will assist management and future policy directions of groundwater resources at EU level and guide future research focused on understanding arsenic mobilisation processes to facilitate in guiding future development, testing and treatment requirements of groundwater resources.
Grant Details
Griffith's Award
Publication Themes
Environment, Marine and Energy