The U.S. Geological Survey collected ground-water samples from the upper and middle aquifers of the Potomac-Raritan-Magothy aquifer system in a 400-square-mile area of New Jersey from 1984 through 1986. Concentrations of lead were greater than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 50 micrograms per liter in water from 16 to 239 wells. The concentrations of cadmium were greater than the MCL of 10 micrograms per liter in water from 10 to 241 wells. One-half of the wells that exceeded the lead MCL were in known areas of saltwater intrusion, as were all 10 wells that exceeded the cadmium MCL. The association of elevated concentrations of these metals with elevated concentrations of chloride indicates a mechanism related to saltwater intrusion.
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Lead and cadmium associated with saltwater intrusion in a New Jersey aquifer system