Natural Background Levels for Chemicals in Icelandic Aquifers

Natural background levels (NBLs) of chemicals are useful for identifying drinking water contamination due to human influence. In Hydrology Research, researchers estimated NBLs by sampling from 79 aquifers in Iceland that were largely un-impacted by human activities and categorized them into into four nationally representative geological settings. The results showed little human influence on drinking water and low influence compared to other European aquifers. Water utilities and regulators can use this information to plan for mitigation activities, such as setting more stringent threshold values for NBLs.

Gunnarsdottir, Maria J., Sigurdur M. Gardarsson, Gunnar St. Jonsson, Halldor Armannsson, and Jamie Bartram. 2015. “Natural Background Levels for Chemicals in Icelandic Aquifers.” Hydrology Research 46.4: 647-660.  doi:10.2166/nh.2014.123.