Sediment color tool for targeting arsenic-safe aquifers for the installation of shallow drinking water tubewells

Hossain, Mohammed and Bhattacharya, Prosun and Frape, Shaun K. and Jacks, Gunnar and Islam, M. Mainul and Rahman, M. Moklesur and von Bromssen, Mattias and Hasan, M. Aziz and Ahmed, Kazi Matin (2014) Sediment color tool for targeting arsenic-safe aquifers for the installation of shallow drinking water tubewells. Science of the Total Environment, 493. pp. 615-625. ISSN 0048-9697


In rural Bangladesh, drinking water supply mostly comes from shallow hand tubewells installed manually by the local drillers, the main driving force in tubewell installation. This study was aimed at developing a sediment color tool on the basis of local driller's perception of sediment color, arsenic (As) concentration of tubewell waters and respective color of aquifer sediments. Laboratory analysis of 521 groundwater samples collected from 144 wells during 2009 to 2011 indicate that As concentrations in groundwater were generally higher in the black colored sediments with an average of 239μg/L. All 39 wells producing water from red sediments provide safe water following the Bangladesh drinking water standard for As (50μg/L) where mean and median values were less than the WHO guideline value of 10μg/L. Observations for off-white sediments were also quite similar. White sediments were rare and seemed to be less important for well installations at shallow depths. A total of 2240 sediment samples were collected at intervals of 1.5m down to depths of 100m at 15 locations spread over a 410km2 area in Matlab, Bangladesh and compared with the Munsell Color Chart with the purpose of direct comparison of sediment color in a consistent manner. All samples were assigned with Munsell Color and Munsell Code, which eventually led to identify 60 color shade varieties which were narrowed to four colors (black, white, off-white and red) as perceived and used by the local drillers. During the process of color grouping, participatory approach was considered taking the opinions of local drillers, technicians, and geologists into account. This simplified sediment color tool can be used conveniently during shallow tubewell installation and thus shows the potential for educating local drillers to target safe aquifers on the basis of the color characteristics of the sediments.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 36027
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 15 May 2019 05:03
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2019 23:45
Uncontrolled Keywords: arsenic; Bangladesh; local driller; sediment color tool; sustainable mitigation; tubewell
Fields of Research (2008): 05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment
04 Earth Sciences > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040603 Hydrogeology
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring
Fields of Research (2020): 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410402 Environmental assessment and monitoring
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3707 Hydrology > 370799 Hydrology not elsewhere classified
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management
Identification Number or DOI:

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only