Places Where Uranium Contamination in Ground Water (Download PDF)

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Uranium Contamination in Ground Water

  • Recently, a report stated that in some states and UTs, the concentration of Uranium has been found to be above 30 micro grams per liter in the country.

  • The report was brought out by Duke University, USA in association with Central Ground Water Board and State Ground Water departments.

  • The permissible limit of Uranium in drinking water set by Bureau of Indian Standards and World Health Organization (provisional guidelines) is 0.03 mg per liter.

Uranium contamination in ground water

Uranium contamination in ground water

Overview

  • India has not set any standard about Uranium levels in groundwater.

  • 16 states have been found to contain Uranium concentration above 30 micro grams per litre.

  • Out of them specifically Andhra Pradesh has high uranium levels in ground water.

  • Over pumping of groundwater leads to decline in water levels.

  • This stimulates the oxidation conditions resulting in enhanced uranium enrichment in groundwater at levels near the surface.

  • The states Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir have localized pockets of high Uranium concentration.

  • Elevated Uranium levels are harmful as it adversely affects human health by causing Kidney toxicity.

  • There is a need to

    • Revise and improve the existing water quality monitoring program in the country

    • Risks to human health associated with high uranium concentration.

    • Adequate remediation technologies need to be developed

    • Preventive management practices should be implemented to address this problem

  • Uranium is a radioactive element with

    • A physical half-life of 4.468 billion years for Uranium 238

    • A biological half-life of 15 days.

  • The biological half-life is the average time in which body eliminates half the amount of uranium from the body.

  • It occurs naturally in all rocks, soil and water in low levels.

  • It can be compared to tin, arsenic or molybdenum in terms of abundance.

- Published/Last Modified on: July 10, 2020

Environment/Ecology

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