Lead and strontium isotopes as monitors of anthropogenic contaminants in the surficial environment

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Isotopic discrimination can be an effective tool in establishing a direct link between sources of Pb contamination and the presence of anomalously high concentrations of Pb in waters, soils, and organisms. Residential wells supplying water containing up to 1600 ppb Pb to houses built on the former Mohr orchards commercial site, near Allentown, Pennsylvania, United States, were evaluated to discern anthropogenic from geogenic sources. Pb and Sr isotopic data and REE data were determined for waters from residential wells, test wells (drilled for this study), and surface waters from pond and creeks. Local soils, sediments, bedrock, Zn-Pb mineralization and coal were also analyzed, together with locally used Pb-As pesticide. Pb isotope data for residential wells, test wells, and surface waters show substantial overlap with Pb data reflecting anthropogenic actions (e.g., burning fossil fuels, industrial and urban processing activities). Limited contributions of Pb from bedrock, soils, and pesticides are evident. High Pb concentrations in the residential waters are likely related to Pb in groundwater accumulating in sediment in the residential water tanks. The Pb isotope features of waters in underlying shallow aquifers that supply residential wells in the region are best interpreted as reflecting a legacy of anthropogenic Pb rather than geogenic Pb.

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Lead and strontium isotopes as monitors of anthropogenic contaminants in the surficial environment
Chapter 12
DOI 10.1016/B978-0-444-63763-5.00013-6
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Eastern Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center
Description 56 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Environmental Geochemistry
First page 307
Last page 362
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