Assessing the impact of drought on arsenic exposure from private domestic wells in the conterminous United States

Environmental Science & Technology
By: , and 

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Abstract

This study assesses the potential impact of drought on arsenic exposure from private domestic wells by using a previously developed statistical model that predicts the probability of elevated arsenic concentrations (>10 μg per liter) in water from domestic wells located in the conterminous United States (CONUS). The application of the model to simulate drought conditions used systematically reduced precipitation and recharge values. The drought conditions resulted in higher probabilities of elevated arsenic throughout most of the CONUS. While the increase in the probability of elevated arsenic was generally less than 10% at any one location, when considered over the entire CONUS, the increase has considerable public health implications. The population exposed to elevated arsenic from domestic wells was estimated to increase from approximately 2.7 million to 4.1 million people during drought. The model was also run using total annual precipitation and groundwater recharge values from the year 2012 when drought existed over a large extent of the CONUS. This simulation provided a method for comparing the duration of drought to changes in the predicted probability of high arsenic in domestic wells. These results suggest that the probability of exposure to arsenic concentrations greater than 10 μg per liter increases with increasing duration of drought. These findings indicate that drought has a potentially adverse impact on the arsenic hazard from domestic wells throughout the CONUS.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Assessing the impact of drought on arsenic exposure from private domestic wells in the conterminous United States
Series title Environmental Science & Technology
DOI 10.1021/acs.est.9b05835
Volume 55
Issue 3
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher American Chemical Society
Contributing office(s) New England Water Science Center
Description 10 p.
First page 1822
Last page 1831
Country United States
Other Geospatial Conterminous United States
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