Manganese concentrations in Scottish groundwater

Sally C. Homoncik, Alan M. MacDonald, Kate V. Heal, Brighid E. O. Dochartaigh, Bryne T. Ngwenya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Groundwater is increasingly being used for public and private water supplies in Scotland, but there is growing evidence that manganese (Mn) concentrations in many groundwater supplies exceed the national drinking water limit of 0.05 mg l(-1). This study examines the extent and magnitude of high Mn concentrations in groundwater in Scotland and investigates the factors controlling Mn concentrations. A dataset containing 475 high quality groundwater samples was compiled using new data from Baseline Scotland supplemented with additional high quality data where available. Concentrations ranged up to 1.9 mg l(-1); median Mn concentration was 0.013 mg l(-1) with 25th and 75th percentiles 0.0014 and 0.072 mg l(-1) respectively. The Scottish drinking water limit (0.05 mg l(-1)) was exceeded for 30% of samples and the WHO health guideline (0.4 mg l(-1)) by 9%; concentrations were highest in the Carboniferous sedimentary aquifer in central Scotland, the Devonian sedimentary aquifer of Morayshire, and superficial aquifers. Further analysis using 137 samples from the Devonian aquifers indicated strong redox and pH controls (pH, Eh and dissolved oxygen accounted for 58% of variance in Mn concentrations). In addition, an independent relationship between Fe and Mn was observed, suggesting that Fe behaviour in groundwater may affect Mn solubility. Given the redox status and pH of Scottish groundwaters the most likely explanation is sorption of Mn to Fe oxides, which are released into solution when Fe is reduced. Since the occurrence of elevated Mn concentrations is widespread in groundwaters from all aquifer types, consideration should be given to monitoring Mn more widely in both public and private groundwater supplies in Scotland and by implication elsewhere. (C) 2010 NERC. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2467-2473
Number of pages7
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2010

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Groundwater
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Redox
  • Scotland
  • Water supplies
  • IRON


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