Paper No. JAWRA-13-0019-P of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA).
Time-Dependent Health Risk from Contaminated Groundwater Including Use of Reliability, Resilience, and Vulnerability as Measures†
Article first published online: 19 JUL 2013
© 2013 American Water Resources Association
JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Volume 50, Issue 1, pages 14–28, February 2014
How to Cite
2014. Time-Dependent Health Risk from Contaminated Groundwater Including Use of Reliability, Resilience, and Vulnerability as Measures. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 50(1): 14-28. DOI: 10.1111/jawr.12103, , and ,
Discussions are open until six months from print publication.
- Issue published online: 3 FEB 2014
- Article first published online: 19 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 9 MAY 2013
- Manuscript Received: 25 JAN 2013
- National Science Foundation. Grant Number: EAR-1113704
- groundwater hydrology;
- risk assessment;
- drinking water;
- public health;
- cancer risk;
- groundwater contamination
Traditionally, assessment of human health risk caused by contamination of a water supply focuses on the maximum risk to an individual. Here, we introduce a time-dependent risk assessment method and adapt and explore the reliability, resilience, and vulnerability (RRV) criteria from the surface-water literature as possible tools for assessing this risk. Time-dependent risk assessment, including RRV, is applied to two synthetic examples where water quality at a well varies over time. We calculate time-dependent health risks for discrete periods of exposure to the contaminated water for a variable population. The RRV criteria provide information about time-dependent risk: probability of an acceptable risk, probability of system recovery, maximum risk, and average exceedance of a prescribed risk threshold. The results demonstrate that episodic contamination events produce fundamentally different time-dependent risks than long-term events: these differences, such as generally lower risks for the episodic contamination, can be captured via plots of the risk and the RRV criteria. Furthermore, the evaluation of time-dependent health risk and the RRV criteria demonstrates significant sensitivity to the shape of the contaminant breakthrough curve, length of exposure, and variability within the population. Overall, analysis of time-dependent health risks provides substantial insight into the structure of risk, with RRV providing a reasonable framework for the evaluation of these risks.