In most areas, rocks in the subsurface are saturated with water at relatively shallow depths. The top of the saturated zone—the water table—typically occurs anywhere from just below land surface to hundreds of feet below the land surface. Groundwater generally fills all pore spaces below the water table and is part of a continuous dynamic flow system, in which the fluid is moving at velocities ranging from feet per millennia to feet per day (Fig. 33.1). While the water is in close contact with the surfaces of various minerals in the rock material, geochemical interactions between the water and the rock can affect the chemical quality of the water, including pH, dissolved solids composition, and trace-elements content. Thus, flowing groundwater is a major mechanism for the transport of chemicals from buried rocks to the accessible environment, as well as a major pathway from rocks to human exposure and consumption. Because the mineral composition of rocks is highly variable, as is the solubility of various minerals, the human-health effects of groundwater consumption will be highly variable.