The built environment and water • Between 1831 and 1854 tens of thousands of people in England died of cholera. • An 1854 cholera epidemic in Soho (London) killed 500 people within 250 yards of the spot where Cambridge Street joins Broad Street, the location of this water pump.
John Snow (1813-1858) • Determined that cholera was a water transmitted disease • First used a “GIS” to track an infectious disease Vibrio cholerae -- the cholera bacterium Source: http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/snow.html
Snow’s observations:Forever changed how cities obtain drinking water MWRA Distribution System
Seasonal flooding, waterborne pathogens caused widespread disease and death. • Bangladeshi government, Unicef and other aid groups, began tube well installations in 1970’s. Currently, • 10 million tube wells installed • 130 million people (97% of population) obtain drinking water from groundwater wells • Early 1990’s - High levels of Arsenic (As) found in groundwater. • Other regions - e.g. West Bengal, Taiwan, Vietnam, US (e.g. New Hampshire), Chile... MYANMAR Bangladesh
Groundwater tube well use and irrigation Irrigation greatly increased food supply and helped fuel a tripling of the Bangladeshi population during the last 40 years Harvey et al, 2005
What is causing the mass poisoning of drinking water in West Bengal and Bangladesh? • 50% of wells (46 million people) have As > 10ug/L • 28% of wells (28 million people) have As > 50ug/L Yu et al., 2002
Lessons learned: Water pollution • Cities have long experienced water pollution • Environmental health effects: acute to chronic illnesses • Access to clean drinking water still a major issue for a large percentage of the Earth’s population • Massive water distribution systems are expensive and are not necessarily the solution for every situation
Lake Waban has a complex history Boston and Worcester RR: 1834 – present Pb, Cu, Zn, As Algaecide applications: 1950s – 1980s NaAsO2, As2O3,CuSO4 Wellesley Apple Orchards: 1850s – 1950s Pesticides: PbHAsO4, CaHAsO4, Pb5OH(AsO4)3 1850 1900 1950 2000 Henry Woods Sons & Co.: 1848 – 1928 Leaded gasoline: peak usage 1970s Paint pigments:PbCrO4, BaSO4, Fe4[Fe(CN)6]3 Pb, V, S
Methods Outlet: Lower Waban Brook Inlet: Upper Waban Brook Ekman Dredge 2004 Freeze Cores 2006 Freeze Cores Russian Cores Sediment samples were analyzed using XRF, ICP-MS, and SEM-EDS.
Distribution of Pb in surface sediments Significantly elevated [Pb] are observed in surface sediments.