GIS Reconstruction of Exposure to Water Supply Contaminants

by Margrit von Braun, Univ of Idaho, Moscow, United States,
Ian von Lindern, Univ of Idaho, Moscow, United States,
Jim C. P. Liou, Univ of Idaho, Moscow, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Management in the '90s: A Time for Innovation


Groundwater pollution resulting from improper waste handling practices in the aerospace industry contaminated the water supply in Tucson, Arizona. State and federal health officials concluded that historical exposures could not be quantified at this Superfund site. This paper summarizes how exposures were estimated at the site using a Geographic Information System (GIS). Using the GIS, cartographic models were developed to simulate i) contaminant release ii) contaminant plume migration, iii) well pumpage, iv) water distribution system development and v) population growth. The models provided estimates of the degree and extent of contaminated water service over the twenty-five year history of the site. Stratified exposure estimates for the area population and for individual residents were developed. The results are discussed in the context of the site's case history, the implications supporting future health-effect studies, and the benefits of employing GIS in assisting complex environmental studies.

Subject Headings: Case studies | Geographic information systems | Construction management | Water supply | Pollutants | Water pollution | Water supply systems | Historic sites | Arizona | United States

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