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Environ Geochem Health. 2014 Aug;36(4):693-712. doi: 10.1007/s10653-013-9590-3. Epub 2013 Dec 18.

Origin and assessment of groundwater pollution and associated health risk: a case study in an industrial park, northwest China.

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School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Chang'an University, No. 126 Yanta Road, Xi'an, 710054, China,


Groundwater quality which relates closely to human health has become as important as its quantity due to the demand for safe water. In the present study, an entropy-weighted fuzzy water quality index (WQI) has been proposed for performing groundwater quality assessment in and around an industrial park, northwest China, where domestic water requirements are solely met by groundwater. The human health risk was assessed with the model recommended by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, the sources of major ions and main contaminants were also analyzed. The study shows that groundwater in the study area has been contaminated conjunctively by natural processes and industrial and agricultural activities. Nitrate, manganese (Mn), fluoride, total dissolved solids, total hardness and sulfate are major contaminants influencing groundwater quality. Nitrate and heavy metals such as Mn are mainly affected by human agricultural activities and industrial production, while other contaminants are mainly originated from mineral weathering and water-rock interactions. The results of water quality assessment suggest that half of the groundwater samples collected are of medium quality thus require pretreatment before human consumption. The mean health risk caused by the consumption of contaminated groundwater in the area is 8.42 × 10(-5) per year which surpasses the maximum acceptable level (5 × 10(-5) per year) recommended by the International Commission on Radiologic Protection. The entropy-weighted fuzzy WQI proposed in this study can not only assign proper weights to parameters but also treat uncertainties associated with water quality classification. This study will be of interest to international environmentalists and hydrogeologists. It will also be useful in regional groundwater management and protection.

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