MSc By Research
Understanding the causes of undesirable manganese concentrations in shallow aquifers
Groundwater from shallow aquifers at temperate and high latitudes is frequently unsuitable for water supply due to manganese (Mn) concentrations in excess of the WHO drinking water standard of 50 micrograms/L. This has had a significant impact on the development of groundwater for rural public water supply in Scotland, where many exploratory boreholes for Scottish Water have had to be abandoned due to the occurrence of elevated Mn concentrations; the scale of the problem in the many private water supplies which use shallow groundwater is as yet unknown. The causes of elevated Mn in shallow aquifers (~10 m depth) have not been systematically investigated, although it is hypothesised that the dominant controls are the presence of thin organic-rich units (such as peats) creating suitable pH and redox conditions. The aim of this project is to investigate the causes of Mn concentrations in shallow aquifers to provide a tool for predicting a priori which groundwaters are likely to be suitable for water supply.