What could be more beautiful than abandoned orchards? The beautifully arranged trees increase the attraction of these orchards. But all that is glitter is not gold. You can’t imagine the below-surface trouble. For instance, toxic pesticides could move into the soil and affect the groundwater.
Current research help in determining the arsenic source in the drinking water. Their study is published in the Journal of Environmental Quality.
The research is led by Mark Higgins, a researcher at the University of Connecticut. According to him, information about the arsenic contamination source helps identify contaminated water sources. As a result, science can help people avoid using contaminated water.
What does the current research say?
In the first step, the team collected necessary historical information about the abandoned orchards in the Connecticut region. There are about 47,000 orchards in Connecticut state. But they focused only on the 114 domestic wells and 189 former orchards in their study.
In the second step, they highlight the possible sources of Arsenic contamination. For instance, arsenic can come from the rocks through leaching. Moreover, pesticides are another source of arsenic contamination. Basically, pesticides are applied in orchards for their health. However, the movement of arsenic in wells and groundwater needs further clarification.
There were no rules and regulations about it till 1988. Moreover, this cancer-causing element was not used after the early 1950s. Therefore, historical orchids were studied in the current research.
According to Higgins, they took arsenic-containing wells of historic orchards. Moreover, he mentioned that most wells around these contaminated wells don’t have arsenic contamination. This study found that 12% of wells have arsenic, more than the safe drinking water limits.
Arsenic contamination is not something new. Scientists have long been discussing whether arsenic could get into the groundwater or not. Some researchers believe that soil can hold arsenic. No doubt it’s true that soil can bind the arsenic. But consequences of contaminated soil could vary.
The Higgins’ research team found that their soil samples have very high concentrations of arsenic. Higgins explains that it is crucial to estimate the arsenic concentration because arsenic can go into the human body through inhalation and cause health problems.
Scientists used the simulated rainfall tests and found that.
- Arsenic could move into the rainwater. Arsenic in the rainwater means it can also move into the wells. So, it is concluded that the binding of arsenic with soil is not strong enough.
- Moreover, arsenic could also move due to substantial changes in the soil. For example, soil nature may change due to the addition of fertilizers and the physical movement of soil.
People who rely on wells could not process this issue effectively because of the large number of wells and the widespread use of pesticides.
Higgins says that we can’t focus on a small piece of land for contamination determination because of a sheer number of contamination sources within a small area. Therefore, assessment of the contaminated area is challenging. In most cases, researchers observed a huge difference in the water quality of two wells within 100ft.
Higgins provides a simple guideline for people living near wells with contaminated water.
Test your water regularly. According to him, water analysis is important because long-term exposure to arsenic is harmful. Therefore, get tested your water as soon as possible.
USDA-NIFA Multistate Hatch Fund supported this research under the project W-3045 & 4045. Other institutes to support this research are the UCONN Department of Geosciences UCONN Department of Natural resources.