I heard that groundwater is rich in minerals and fluorides, but I have no clear thoughts on what else it contains and whether the ground water differs from area to area.

Can someone please shed some light about what groundwater actually consists of? Is it drinkable?

  • $\begingroup$ What's missing here en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groundwater ? $\endgroup$
    – mart
    Jul 22 '14 at 10:11
  • $\begingroup$ @mart So, you say I should visit wiki instead of visiting here? :) $\endgroup$
    – Mr_Green
    Jul 22 '14 at 10:16
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Visi wiki, learn what you can, and ask an informed question to fill in the gaps. $\endgroup$
    – mart
    Jul 22 '14 at 15:38
  • $\begingroup$ @mart IMO, having content here also from experts is good. and also I always don't refer just wiki. It is not always correct. $\endgroup$
    – Mr_Green
    Jul 22 '14 at 16:22

Groundwater consists mostly of water, obviously. Usually, "minerals" in water (for example in bottled water) are actually not minerals but rather dissolved ions. Strictly speaking, minerals are solids. Fluoride, then, is also a "mineral", and actually a dissolved ion.

Groundwater usually begin their life as precipitation: rain, melting snow, etc. These are usually clean and pure (as in distilled) waters and once they percolate through the ground they pick up ions from the rocks and from the soil. For example, groundwater in areas rich in limestone will have high calcium contents. So yes, there are differences in different areas.

Groundwater is mostly safe. However, there are cases where it isn't. Most commonly, groundwater contaminated by man-made sources. Leaks from factories, improper water treatment, etc. Also, some groundwater may be acidic (low pH) or basic (high pH, 1). While this may be desired in natural hot spas, this is not something that would be safe to drink. Groundwater may also be contaminated with arsenic or with radium (2), a radioactive element that occurs naturally in Uranium-bearing rocks (e.g. granite).

References from my local area:

(1) Saines, M., Dickson, P., & Lambert, P. (1980). An occurrence of calcium hydroxide ground water in Jordan. Groundwater, 18(5), 503–503. doi:10.1111/j.1745-6584.1980.tb03427.x

(2) Vengosh, A., Hirschfeld, D., Vinson, D., Dwyer, G., Raanan, H., Rimawi, O., … Ganor, J. (2009). High naturally occurring radioactivity in fossil groundwater from the Middle East. Environmental Science & Technology, 43(6), 1769–1775. doi:10.1021/es802969r


as for constituents in groundwater this pub may help, or at least point to additional information. as for is it safe to drink - according to [estimated water use] http://water.usgs.gov/edu/wups.html, approximately 34% of all public supply water comes from the ground.

  • $\begingroup$ +1 for the Survey links, Bri, I just posted that NAWQA study for someone the other day too. $\endgroup$ Dec 19 '14 at 19:09

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