Risk characterization for toxic chemicals transported in aquifers
2012 (English)In: Advances in Water Resources, ISSN 0309-1708, E-ISSN 1872-9657, Vol. 36, 86-97 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The risk characterization resulting from the introduction of toxic chemicals in a subsurface flow field is presented. The concept of concentration threshold is used to quantify the risk associated with non-carcinogenic chemicals introduced to the population by ingestion of groundwater as the exposure pathway. The risk assessment methodology presented uses the expected mass fraction (EMF) concept with exposure duration to identify the distribution of dosage over different concentrations during the plume migration over the well location. The numerical simulation of the subsurface transport by advection and local diffusion is used to produce the concentration plume that passes different locations of interest. The EMF obtained presents the probability of the expected mass above some concentration threshold found at the location of interest. The risk formulation is defined with the risk reliability (safety) and its complement, the risk exceedance (failure) value. The risk characterization is obtained as a probability for exceeding the human reference dose which is considered uncertain due to the necessary extrapolation between concentration used in toxicological studies and the concentration to which humans could be exposed in nature. The final risk assessment expression is derived in a closed form by coupling the expected mass fraction with the safe human threshold concentration probability density function (pdf) inferred from the toxicological studies. The results indicate the importance of estimating the probability of a concentration mass found at locations of interest together with its exposure duration. The exposure duration was revealed to be an important parameter that needs to be estimated depending on the human concentration threshold selected and the distance from the source. The results in terms of the risk safety and risk failure also indicate the dilution effect on the passing concentration plume in the subsurface as a function of the distance and orientation from the source. Inclusion of uncertainty in the selection of the human concentration threshold shows the important effect on the risk quantification.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 36, 86-97 p.
Expected mass fraction, Exposure duration, Dilution effect, Risk assessment
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-133335DOI: 10.1016/j.advwatres.2011.04.009ISI: 000299971900009ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84855223654OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-133335DiVA: diva2:660638
QC 201310302013-10-302013-10-302013-11-04Bibliographically approved