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Title: Cr(VI) Occurrence and Geochemistry in Water From Public-Supply Wells in California

Hexavalent chromium, Cr(VI), in 918 wells sampled throughout California between 2004 and 2012 by the Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment Program—Priority Basin Project (GAMA—PBP) ranged from less than the study reporting limit (SRL) of 1 microgram per liter (μg/L) to 32 μg/L. Statewide, Cr(VI) was reported in 31 percent of sampled wells and equaled or exceeded the recently established (2014) California Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for Cr(VI) of 10 μg/L in 4 percent of sampled wells. Cr(VI) data collected for regulatory purposes overestimate Cr(VI) occurrence. Ninety percent of chromium was present as Cr(VI), which was detected more frequently and at higher concentrations in alkaline (pH > 8), oxic water, and more frequently in agricultural and urban land uses compared to native land uses. Chemical, isotopic (tritium and carbon-14), and noble-gas data show high Cr(VI) in water from wells in alluvial aquifers in the southern California deserts result from long groundwater-residence times and geochemical reactions such as silicate weathering that increase pH, while oxic conditions persist. High Cr(VI) in water from wells in alluvial aquifers along the west-side of the Central Valley results from high-chromium abundance in source rock eroded to form those aquifers, and areal recharge processes (including irrigation return)more » that mobilize chromium from the unsaturated zone. Cr(VI) co-occurred with oxyanions having similar chemistry, including vanadium, selenium, and uranium. Cr(VI) was positively correlated with nitrate, consistent with increased concentrations in areas of agricultural land use and mobilization of chromium from the unsaturated zone by irrigation return.« less
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  1. US Geological Survey, Reston, VA (United States)
  2. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0883-2927
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Applied Geochemistry
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 63; Journal ID: ISSN 0883-2927
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States