Identification of Sources of Ground Water Salinization Using Geochemical Techniques

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Richter, Brend C.
Kreitler, Charles W.

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This report deals with saltwater sources that commonly mix and deteriorate fresh groundwater. It reviews characteristics of saltwater sources and geochemical techniques that can be used to identify these sources after mixing has occurred.

The report is designed to assist investigators of saltwater problems in a step-by-step fashion. Seven major sources of saltwater are distinguished: (1) Natural saline groundwater, (2) Halite solution, (3) Seawater intrusion, (4) Oil and gas field brines, (5) Agricultural effluents, (6) Saline seep, and (7) Road salting. The geographic distribution of these sources was mapped individually and together, illustrating which ones are potential sources at any given area in the United States. In separate sections, each potential source is then discussed in detail regarding physical and chemical characteristics, examples of known techniques for identification of mixtures between freshwater and that source, and known occurrences by state. Individual geochemical parameters that are used within these techniques are presented in a separate section, followed by a discussion concerning where and how to obtain them. Also provided is a description of basic graphical and statistical methods that are used frequently in saltwater studies. An extensive list of references for further study concludes this report.


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