Second moment method for evaluating human health risks from groundwater contaminated by trichloroethylene.
Pollutants in groundwater aquifers may constitute a significant human health risk. A large variation in response may result among human populations experiencing the same level and duration of exposure to pollutants. Variability in response, as a result of exposure to a carcinogenic contaminant such as trichloroethylene (TCE), can be represented by a distribution function of safe doses. Spatial variability in aquifer characteristics and contaminant transport parameters requires the use of stochastic transport models to quantify variability in exposure concentrations. A second moment method is used to evaluate the probability of exceeding safe dose levels for a contaminated aquifer. The name of this method stems from the fact that the formulation is based on the first and second moments of the random variables. With this method, the probability is a function of the variability of contaminant concentration (which incorporates variability in hydrogeologic parameters such as hydraulic conductivity) and the variability in response in the human population. In this manner, the severity of the health risk posed by a contaminated aquifer and the evaluation of appropriate strategies and technologies for aquifer remediation are a function of contaminant concentrations and human health risks. The applicability and limitations of this method are demonstrated with data on groundwater contaminated by TCE at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.
Jacobs, TL; Warmerdam, JM; Medina, MA; Piver, WT
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