Sydney aquifer contamination widens. (Photo: Mark Alesia, USA TODAY) Story Highlights About 200 trillion gallons of groundwater, nearly 15 billion gallons of aquifer, has been pumped out of its source since 1973
Experts say groundwater contamination is the biggest environmental problem worldwide
New Jersey is the nation’s largest source of water contaminated with salts, which makes it easy for pathogens to escape into the water supply
NICHE, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey aquifer contaminated by radioactive metals is the biggest single source of contamination into groundwater anywhere in the world, an expert said Saturday.
New Jersey is the nation’s largest source of groundwater contaminated with radioactive metals — an idea that’s been embraced by geologists who have called for cleanup of the New Jersey aquifer, which is one of the most important in the U.S.
“There are some really major implications to the aquifer system and to New Jersey — a lot of w바카라사이트ater will go out of the aquifer,” said Robert P. Molloy, director of the Center for Health and Environment Studies at Rutgers University in Newark.
The contamination, which affec바카라ts the New Jersey aquifer system, is probably the biggest environmental problem worldwide, Molloy said.
“It’s not a small problem,” he said. “It’s going to have a big jarvees.comeffect on how water flows from the system, and how it flows out of the system.”
Molloy did not disclose whether radioactive metals were likely involved. He said state law requires the state to hold a “public hearing” on the matter before any regulation is implemented. No release date has been set, but it is unclear how long the hearing may take.
There is no known way for an aquifer with underground saline water to absorb radioactive material from the atmosphere, Molloy said.
There are several sources of contaminants from nuclear testing and nuclear waste, in addition to groundwater. But Molloy said there has not been any significant spillage of material, and the risk to public health has not been fully understood.
The aquifer is the second largest supply of radioactive chemicals in New Jersey — the amount has been roughly tripled since 1980.
“The amount that we’re talking about is more than a million times greater than what’s in natural water today,” he said. “There is a lot of potential.”
Molloy said it’s important to look at all the potential risks that environmental authorities and water treatment plants can take, i