Chapter 7 - Leaks [Unraveling Environmental Disasters (Second Edition)]

Elsevier, Daniel A. Vallero, Trevor M. Letcher, Chapter 7 - Leaks, Editor(s): Daniel A. Vallero, Trevor M. Letcher, Unraveling Environmental Disasters (Second Edition), Elsevier, 2024, Pages 171-205
Daniel A. Vallero, Trevor M. Letcher

This chapter addresses how groundwater contamination can lead to environmental and public health disasters. The discussion addresses the hydrogeology and hydraulic aspects of how water moves beneath the Earth's surface, as well as how contaminants are transported. A contaminant's solubility, density, sorption, and other properties affect the extent and degree of pollution. The discussion includes ideal solubility, highlighting the idea of “like dissolves like” and equilibrium (partitioning coefficients). Hazardous waste sites are described in detail, including Love Canal, New York; Times Beach, Missouri; Chester, Pennsylvania; Valley of the Drums, Kentucky; Stringfellow acid pits in California; and mine tailings in Tar Creek, Kansas. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (known as Superfund) is described as an example of the laws and regulations being used to address groundwater contamination.