Tritium age dating groundwater

Water age dating is a simple way to test the security of groundwater aquifers, by establishing how long the water has been underground, i.e.how long since the waters were exposed to surface sources of contamination.When this is the case, it is unlikely that contamination from recent sources of pollution will be a problem.The increasing national and international demand for water has led to increasing reliance on subsurface storage, both for naturally and artificially recharged water.Plotting hydrochemistry and field parameters versus groundwater age allowed us to identify those parameters that have increasing concentrations with age and are therefore from geological sources.These indicators for natural groundwater evolution are: Na, HCO, and p H and conductivity.A sharp increase in nitrate and other agrochemicals due to high-intensity agriculture was observed in groundwater recharged since 1955.

According to the Drinking-Water Standards for New Zealand:2005 (DWSNZ:2005), a groundwater source is considered secure when it can be demonstrated that it is not likely to be contaminated by pathogenic organisms by satisfying the following conditions: Age dating yields an average age of the water as most groundwaters are mixtures of water with different ages.In young groundwater that was recharged after the intensification of agriculture, nitrate, sulphate, CFC-11 and CFC-12, and pesticides are the most representative indicators for the impact of land-use intensification on groundwater quality, with 66% of the sites showing such an impact.Elevated concentrations of nitrate in oxic groundwater allowed us to reconstruct the timing and magnitude of the impact of land-use intensification on groundwater which in New Zealand occurred in two stages.This increased reliance on the groundwater in concert with the strict regulation on water quality has led to a need by water managers and regulators to understand: Characterization of mean groundwater age and recharge temperature through the use of noble gas techniques provides information that is relevant to answering these questions and that is not accessible through traditional hydrogeologic approaches.LLNL has developed a noble gas mass spectrometry facility that houses a state-of-the-art water-gas separation manifold and mass spectrometry system designed specifically for high throughput of groundwater samples. scientists with cutting-edge expertise in the measurement and interpretation of noble gases and tritium in groundwater.

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