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Environ Manage. 1998 Mar;22(2):245-54.

Suburban Areas in Developing Countries and Their Relationship to Groundwater Pollution: A Case Study of Mar del Plata, Argentina

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Centro de Geologia de Costas y Cuaternario (CGCYC), Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, CC 722 Correo Central, 7600 Mar del Plata, Argentina


/ Human activities carried out in suburban areas in many developing countries are directly related to groundwater pollution. The main objective of this paper is to analyze the relationship between land use and groundwater pollution in the suburban area of Mar del Plata (Argentina). We identified three elements that are endangering the quality of groundwater: horticultural activity, urban solid waste disposal sites, and sewage disposal on land. Fifty wells in an area of 175 km2 were sampled in order to verify the impact of these problems on groundwater. All samples were analyzed for major ions, and about 30 of them for fecal coliforms and heavy metals. Nineteen samples were selected for pesticide analyses. The average nitrate content was 80 mg/liter, eight times the regional background value. Fecal coliforms were detected in 60% of the analyzed samples. Zinc content and a high Cl-/HCO3- ratio were observed in the surroundings of the solid waste disposal area. Moreover, lindane and heptachlor pesticides were detected in ten samples.KEY WORDS: Suburban areas; Groundwater pollution; Groundwater management; Argentina.


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