Don’t Drink That!


The water quality of groundwater basins impacts us all.  Groundwater systems are beneficial to the greater water supply system around Los Angeles, CA.  Groundwater basins are good water resources during periods of droughts. However, groundwater systems do have contaminants and these contaminants  effect the quality for consumption purposes.


The major groundwater contaminants that reach Los Angeles comprise of  solvents  that are sourced from human activities. These solvents are used for manufacturing purposes and cleaning. The common solvents found in the basins surrounding Los Angeles are trichloroethylene’s (TCE’s) and  perchloroethylene’s (PCE’s). The geographic distribution of these solvents show that the solvents are not new to our water supply system but rather they are from historic uses. The groundwater flows (shown by the blue arrows) diagram the distribution of these contaminants. Nitrates (chemical compounds)  are also detected. Some sources of nitrate include agricultural  runoffs and waste waters from treatment plants. According to my research, contamination levels of TCE’s, PCE’s, Nitrates, and volatile organic matter vary from basin to basin. After looking into numerous data sets, I am hypothesizing that as groundwater levels increase, so do contamination levels.  The basins that have stable groundwater levels seem to have low contamination levels.


LADWP has established operating goals around the San Fernando Valley Basin, San Gabriel Basin, West Coast Basin, and the Central Basin.  Some of the areas around these basins have high contamination levels that surpass the maximum contamination level permitted by federal or state regulations. Currently, LADWP has been spending millions on groundwater system improvement studies to maximize the use of these basins, to further increase the water supply in Los Angeles.


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