Dissolved carbon monoxide (CO) is present in ground water produced from a variety of aquifer systems at concentrations ranging from 0.2 to 20 nanomoles per liter (0.0056 to 0.56 ??g/L). In two shallow aquifers, one an unconsolidated coastal plain aquifer in Kings Bay, Georgia, and the other a fractured-bedrock aquifer in West Trenton, New Jersey, long-term monitoring showed that CO concentrations varied over time by as much as a factor of 10. Field and laboratory evidence suggests that the delivery of dissolved oxygen to the soil zone and underlying aquifers by periodic recharge events stimulates oxic metabolism and produces transiently high CO concentrations. In between recharge events, the aquifers become anoxic and more substrate limited, CO is consumed as a carbon source, and CO concentrations decrease. According to this model, CO concentrations provide a transient record of oxic metabolism affecting ground water systems after dissolved oxygen has been fully consumed. Because the delivery of oxygen affects the fate and transport of natural and anthropogenic contaminants in ground water, CO concentration changes may be useful for identifying predominantly anoxic ground water systems subject to periodic oxic or microaerophilic conditions. ?? 2007 National Ground Water Association.
Additional publication details
Hydrologic significance of carbon monoxide concentrations in ground water