Urban Groundwater Pollution: IAH International Contributions to Hydrogeology 24, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Urban Groundwater Pollution

IAH International Contributions to Hydrogeology 24, 1st Edition

Edited by David Lerner

CRC Press

296 pages

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Hardback: 9789058096296
pub: 2003-01-01
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More than 50% of the world's population already live in cities, and the proportion is rising extremely rapidly towards developed country levels of more than 90%. Groundwater from wells is the major source of water supply for many of these cities, however, groundwater is polluted by the cities that overlie it and sewerage systems are often absent, or leak. Industrial landuse implies the use of large quantities of chemicals, and it is the poor disposal and accidental spillage of these chemicals which results in the contamination of virtually every industrial site in the world. Much of this pollution migrates deeper to damage groundwater. Groundwater has slow turnover time, often measured in decades and centuries, reducing the self-cleansing capacity. Urban aquifers are therefore vitally important but very fragile, easily damaged and slow to repair. Urban groundwater problems and solutions vary greatly around the world. Mature cities often have remote and clean water supplies, good sewerage systems, strict controls on groundwater and land use, and declining industries. However, they have a legacy of more than one hundred years of waste disposal and industrially-contaminated land which continues to cause problems. Rapidly urbanising cities are frequently dependent on local groundwater and have poor sanitation and uncontrolled industry. These factors present many immediate risks to human health. This book explains the nature and value of urban groundwater, discussing the types of pollutants that are found, and their sources. The unique aspect of this book is the in-depth discussion of six different urban environments, complete with case studies. These environments are: Mature industrial cities; Arid-zone cities; Weathered crystalline aquifers in sub-Saharan Africa; Cities overlying karst aquifers; Alluvial aquifer systems; Shallow aquifers in Mediterranean climates.


The book discusses rapid urbanization of the developing world as it places greater pressure on city environments and its pace of growth outstrips the planning and control infrastructure. Easy access to groundwater makes it the main source of water for the world's population and places it at severe risk of pollution in cities because of the density of polluting activities, such as industrial plants, pipelines, sewers, landfills, etc. The issue of urban groundwater encapsulates many modern problems: sustainability, rapid urbanization and rising living standards, pollution prevention, inadequate data, and complex management issues of optional use of resources. The story of each city is different but some themes are common, such as climates, geology and development status. The book comprises two parts. The first part (Chapters 1-3) gives a view of urban development from the groundwater perspective; the disparate and conflicting values of groundwater for water supply, efficient disposal, amenity and ecology; and overviews pollutants by type and by source. Chapters 4-9 form the larger part of the book and deal with case studies of several cities to draw out the common threads across cultures and continents. Professional hydrogeologists, urban planners and water supply engineers, as well as students in these fields can use the book to provide a new perspective on the often damaging effects that cities have on their hidden but valuable groundwater.

Fakhry A.Assaad, Consultant Geologist and Data, Analyst, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

Table of Contents

1. Values and Functions of Groundwater under Cities

2. Characteristics of Urban Groundwater

3. Sources, Types, Characteristics and Investigation of Urban Groundwater Pollutants

4. Mature Industrial Cities

5. Rapidly-Urbanising Arid-Zone Cities

6. Urban Areas of Sub-Saharan Africa: Weathered Crystalline Aquifer Systems

7. Cities Overlying Karst and Karst-like Aquifers

8. Groundwater Management in Urban Alluvial Aquifer Systems: Case Studies from three continents: Agadir, Lima and Los Angeles

9. Shallow Porous Aquifers in Mediterranean Climates

About the Editor

David Lerner came to academic life via a water authority and international consultants, and has taught in both Geology and Civil Engineering departments. He leads the Groundwater Protection and Restoration Group (GPRG) at the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering at the University of Sheffield, UK.

His publications range over many current issues of hydrogeology, including urban groundwater, groundwater protection, designing landfills, the behaviour of organic chemicals in the subsurface, and natural attenuation of pollutants. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

About the Series

IAH - International Contributions to Hydrogeology

The International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) serves scientists, engineers and other professionals working in the field of groundwater resource planning, management and protection. IAH has two book series which are produced under the imprint of CRC Press in the Netherlands, part of the Taylor and Francis Group. IAH books have the common purpose of spreading the science and knowledge of hydrogeology and are products arising from IAH’s congresses and meetings, its commissions and networks, as well as a variety of other sources. Information is gathered from highly respected sources and include case studies, regional descriptions, analyses of sub-disciplines and outputs from major international programmes.

International Contributions to Hydrogeology
The second series, International Contributions to Hydrogeology, the ‘blue books’, includes monographs on sub-disciplines of hydrogeology as well as outlets for major international investigatory programmes and collections of papers within a broad theme of international interest.

Selected Papers
The first series is the Selected Papers, often referred to as the ‘green books’. These are collections of papers derived from Congress and other meetings which normally, but not always, were sponsored by IAH. They may also be a collection of papers derived from a programme of investigation that again need not necessarily have enjoyed direct IAH involvement.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Environmental / Water Supply