2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 9:05 AM


KREAMER, David K., Geoscience, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 4505 S. Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89154-4010, kreamer@nevada.edu

Although there are unique challenges in Africa, in many ways, sub Saharan Africa is struggling with issues of groundwater quality and remediation that other, highly industrialized countries in other parts of the world have also struggled with for many decades. There has been development of laws and regulations, assessment and remediation techniques, and great infrastructural support in Europe, North America, and Australia which has not yet come to fruition in most of sub Saharan Africa. The path of environmental advancement in industrialized nations outside of Africa has not been easy, involving both successes and set backs, foresight and mistakes. Lessons learned in the tortuous passage toward groundwater protection in other parts of the world could potentially benefit sub Saharan Africa in approaching their own challenges, and in developing their own approaches. This paper gives specific recommendations regarding: 1). a current lack of good-quality data on existing groundwater pollution, 2) non uniform data collection and recording, 3) local poverty and its environmental consequences, 4) inconsistent availability of resources for proper groundwater monitoring, assessment, and remediation, 5) the need for more universal leak detection systems and environmental screening techniques, 6) inefficiency of remedial measures because of improper or insufficient site characterization, 7) non uniform or non existent standards for monitoring well design, 8) the need for uniform, concentration-based aqueous action levels, 9) the need for coordinated agreement on acceptable risk in establishment of these concentration-based action-levels, with a view toward overall societal health risks and environmental priorities, 10). a lack of uniform, acceptable risk-based decision criteria, 11). inability to enforce specific standards and guidelines, and 12) the need for education and capacity-building of environmental professionals.