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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances

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U.S. Geological Survey Toxic Substances Hydrology Program--Proceedings of the Technical Meeting, Colorado Springs, Colorado, September 20-24, 1993, Water-Resources Investigations Report 94-4015

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The Transport of Inorganic Contaminants in a Sewage Plume in the Cape Cod Aquifer, Massachusetts

by

Brigid A. Rea (U.S. Geological Survey, Boulder, Colo.), Douglas B. Kent (U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, Calif.), Linda C. D. Anderson (U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, Calif.), James A. Davis (U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, Calif.), and Denis R. LeBlanc (U.S. Geological Survey, Marlborough, Mass.)

Abstract

The active and abandoned sewage-disposal beds at the Massachusetts Military Reservation sewage-treatment plant are a major source of inorganic contaminants, such as zinc, copper, and phosphate, in the Cape Cod aquifer, Massachusetts. The distribution and mobilities of these chemical constituents around the sewage-treatment plant are strongly affected by geochemical processes; extensive adsorption results in confinement of the most intensive concentrations to the near-source region, including currently used and abandoned disposal facilities. Beyond the disposal facilities, zinc and copper movement continues to be controlled by sorption processes. Zinc and copper contamination was present at the same depths, although copper concentrations were much lower than those of zinc. Phosphate concentrations were high in the suboxic zone near the source and are controlled by adsorption to sediments. Phosphate concentrations in the anoxic zone were much lower and likely are controlled by ferrous phosphate solubility.

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