Groundwater Contamination in Urban Areas

  • Keisuke Kuroda
  • Tetsuo Fukushi
Part of the cSUR-UT Series: Library for Sustainable Urban Regeneration book series (LSUR, volume 2)


Groundwater has been used everywhere in the world for a long time because of its easy accessibility and good quality. In urban areas, groundwater as a source of domestic, commercial and industrial water has greatly contributed to the development of cities. Groundwater in urban areas is sometimes contaminated with multiple contaminants at higher concentrations than in rural areas. For example, one of the most prevalent contaminants in urban groundwater, nitrate, is commonly the product of agricultural runoff due to the use of fertilisers in rural areas. In urban areas, however, fertilisers in agricultural fields are rather minor sources, but leaky sewage, septic tanks, industrial spillages, landfill leachates, and fertilisers used in gardens and parks are other, more common sources of nitrate. Those sources of nitrate can also become sources of other hazardous substances or health-related microorganisms. Other than nitrogen, there are many contaminants in urban groundwater including arsenic, fluoride, heavy metals, and volatile organic carbons. Several kinds of pharmaceuticals, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), and perfluorinated surfactants (PFSs) can also be detected in urban groundwaters.


Groundwater Quality Groundwater Contamination Domestic Wastewater Recharge Area Landfill Leachate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Arai T (1987) Hydrological environments in cities (in Japanese). Kyoritsu Shuppan, Tokyo, p 37Google Scholar
  2. Barrett MH, Hiscock KM, Pedley S, Lerner DN, Tellam JH, French MJ (1999) Marker species for identifying urban groundwater recharge sources: A review and case study in Nottingham, UK. Water Res 33(14):3083–3097CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bath A, Richards H, Metcalfe R, McCartney R, Degnan P, Littleboy A (2006) Geochemical indicators of deep groundwater movements at Sellafield, UK. J Geochemical Exploration 90:24–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. California Department of Health Services (2000) California Drinking Water: NDMA-Related Activities ( index.htm, downloaded on January 14, 2000)
  5. Corbitt RA (1998) Standard Handbook of Environmental Engineering, 2nd edn. McGraw-Hill, pp 7.21–7.22Google Scholar
  6. Dagan G (1989) Flow and transport in porous formation Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, p 465Google Scholar
  7. Deutsch CV, Journal AG (1998) GSLIB: Geostatistical software library and user’s guide. Oxford University Press, New York, p 369Google Scholar
  8. de Marsily G (1986) Quantitative hydrogeology: groundwater hydrology for engineers. Academic, London, p 440Google Scholar
  9. Ellis PA, Rivett MO (2007) Assessing the impact of VOC-contaminated groundwater on surface water at the city scale. J Contaminant, Hydrol 91:107–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fenner RA (1990) Excluding groundwater into new sewers. J IWEM 4:544–551Google Scholar
  11. Fenz R, Blaschke AP, Clara M, Kroiss H, Mascher D, Zessner M (2005) Quantification of sewer exfiltration using the anti-epileptic drug carbamazepine as marker species for wastewater. Water Science and Technology 52:209–217Google Scholar
  12. Ford M, Tellam JH (1994) Source, type and extent of inorganic contamination within the Birmingham urban aquifer system, UK. J Hydrol 156:101–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fujita S (1986) Experimental sewer system for reduction of urban storm runoff (in Japanese). Environ Eng Res 22:175–185Google Scholar
  14. Fukada T, Hiscock KM, Dennis KF (2004) A dual-isotope approach to the nitrogen hydrochemistry of an urban aquifer. Applied Geochemistry 19:709–719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Goovaerts P (1997) Geostatistics for natural resource evaluation. Oxford University Press, New York, p 483Google Scholar
  16. Heaton THE (1986) Isotopic studies of nitrogen pollution in the hydrosphere and atmosphere: a review. Chem Geol 59:87–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Iqbal MZ, Krothe NC, Spalding RF (1997) Nitrogen isotope indicators of seasonal source variability to groundwater. Environ Geol 32:210–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jackson RE (1998) The migration, dissolution and fate of chlorinated solvents in the urbanized alluvial valleys of the southwestern USA. Hydrogeol J 6(1):144–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Japanese Ministry of the Environment (2005) Annual results of the investigation of groundwater quality in 2005 (in Japanese) (
  20. Kessler A, Rubin H (1987) Relationships between water infiltration and oil spill migration in sandy soils. J Hydrol 91:187–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kuroda K, Fukushi T, Takizawa S, Aichi M, Hayashi T, Tokunaga T (2007) Source estimation of nitrogen contamination in groundwaters in Tokyo Metropolitan Area (in Japanese). Environmental Engineering Research, 44:31–38Google Scholar
  22. Kunimatsu (1989) Modelling analysis of pollutant loads in rivers (in Japanese). Gihodo Shuppan, Tokyo, pp 59–63Google Scholar
  23. LaMotte AE, Greene EA (2006) Spatial analysis of land use and shallow groundwater vulnerability in the watershed adjacent to Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland and Virginia, USA. Environmental Geology 52(7):1413–1421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lee SM, Min KD, Woo NC, Kim YJ, Ahn CH (2003) Statistical models for the assessment of nitrate contamination in urban groundwater using GIS. Environmental Geology 44:210–221Google Scholar
  25. Liu Y, Zhu WH (1991) Environmental characteristics of regional groundwater in relation to fluoride poisoning in North China. Environmental Geology 18:3–10Google Scholar
  26. Luebker DJ, Case MT, York RG, Moore JA, Hansen KJ, Butenhoff JL (2005) Two-generation reproduction and cross-foster studies of perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) in rats. Toxicology 215:126–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Matsui Y, Takeda T, Takizawa S, Wongrueng A, Wattanachira S (2006) Evaluation of nanofiltration process for fluoride removal from groundwater in the Chiang Mai basin (in Japanese). J JSCE G 62:403–414Google Scholar
  28. Meschke JS, Sobsey MD (2003) Comparative reduction of Norwalk virus, poliovirus type 1, F+RNA coliphage MS2 and Escherichia coli in miniature soil columns. Water Science and Technology 47:85–90Google Scholar
  29. Miyake N (1978) Runoff characteristics of a small watershed in a hill. In: Ichikawa M, Kayane I (eds) Water balance in Japan (in Japanese). Kokin Shoin, Tokyo, pp 77–88Google Scholar
  30. Murakami M (2005) Adsorption and desorption of heavy metals in infiltration facilities receiving urban runoff, Ph D Dissertation (in Japanese), Graduate School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo.Google Scholar
  31. National Research Council (1972) Accumulation of nitrate. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  32. Nga TTV, Inoue M, Khatiwada NR, Takizawa S (2003) Heavy metal tracers for the analysis of groundwater contamination: case study in Hanoi city. Water Science and Technology 3:343–350Google Scholar
  33. Ogawa Y (2000) Nitrate pollution in groundwater and change of farming methods (in Japanese). Noubunkyo, Tokyo, pp 68–71Google Scholar
  34. Olea R (1991) Geostatistical glossary and multilingual dictionary. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  35. Pankow JF, Cherry JA (1996) Dense Chlorinated solvents and other DNAPLs in groundwater. Waterloo Press, Portland OregonGoogle Scholar
  36. Powell KL, Taylor RG, Cronin AA, Barrett MH, Pedley S, Sellwood J, Trowsdale SA, Lerner DN (2003) Microbial contamination of two urban sandstone aquifers in the UK. Water Research 37:33–352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Reynolds JH (1994) Environmental protection-a pipe dream or reality? In: Proceedings of the institution of civil engineers-municipal engineer 103:121–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rivett MO, Feenstra S, Cherry JA (2001) A controlled field experiment on groundwater contamination by a multicomponent DNAPL: creation of the emplaced-source and overview of dissolved plume development. J Contam Hydrol 49:111–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Schellekens GAP (1974) Olieverontreiniging pompstation Geulhen. H20 7:140–143Google Scholar
  40. Schirmer M, Butler BJ (2004) Transport behaviour and natural attenuation of organic contaminants at spill sites. Toxicology 205:173–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Schwille F (1975) Groundwater pollution by mineral oil products. IAHS-AISH, Publ No 103.Google Scholar
  42. Smedley PL, Kinniburgh DG (2002) A review of the source behaviour and distribution of arsenic in natural waters. Applied Geochemistry 17:517–568CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Tokyo Metropolitan Government (2006) Current status of groundwater abstraction in Tokyo Metropolitan (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  44. Tsukada K (1978) Hydrological characteristics of the Shirasu plateau. In: Ichikawa M, Kayane I (eds) Water balance in Japan (in Japanese). Kokin Shoin, Tokyo, pp 88–103Google Scholar
  45. UNEP/WHO/UNICEF (2002) Children in the new millennium. United Nations Environmental Programme (
  46. Wakida FT, Lerner DN (2005) Non-agricultural sources of groundwater nitrate: a review and case study. Water Res 39:3–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. WHO (1985) Guidelines for the study of dietary intake of chemical contaminants, WHO Offset Publication No 87Google Scholar
  48. WHO (1998) Nitrate and nitrite in drinking water
  49. Wieringa K (1995) Environment in the European Union 1995. European Environment Agency, LuxembourgGoogle Scholar
  50. Wolf L, Eiswirth M, Hotzl H (2003) Assessing sewer-groundwater interaction at the city scale based on individual sewer defects and marker species distributions, ICGGE Bled 2003Google Scholar
  51. Yang Y, Lerner DN, Barrett MH, Tellam JH (1999) Quantification of groundwater recharge in the city of Nottingham, UK. Environmental Geology 38:183–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Vanlooke R, DeBorger R, Voets JP, Verstraete W (1975) Soil and groundwater contamination by oil spills-problems and remedies. Int J Environ Stud 8:99–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keisuke Kuroda
    • 1
  • Tetsuo Fukushi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Urban Engineeringthe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

Personalised recommendations