2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 153-9
Presentation Time: 3:50 PM


ALLEN, Sarah M., JACKSON, Joshua W., ABBOTT, Morgan, LARSEN, Kenneth, CADET, Eddy and EMERMAN, Steven H., Department of Earth Science, Utah Valley University, 800 West University Parkway, Orem, UT 84058, yellow4ecko@yahoo.com

Haiti is one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere and one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Because of the overwhelming poverty and poor sanitary conditions throughout the country, concerns for water quality have focused on biological contamination of the water supply, ignoring other risk factors that may contribute to morbidity and mortality. A key water quality concern not directly connected to infectious disease is the accumulation of toxic trace metals in surface water, groundwater, stream sediments, and agricultural soils. Haiti has numerous industrial and mining operations that can be important sources of trace metal contaminants. In addition, studies in other parts of the world have shown the ability of animal waste to mobilize trace metals when used as fertilizers, which is a widespread practice in Haiti. Many of these industrial, mining and agricultural practices take place near streams or in groundwater recharge zones. To date there is a scarcity of studies focusing on trace metal contamination of the water supply in Haiti. The objectives of this study, which is being carried out in the northern peninsula of Haiti, are to assess the occurrence and distribution of trace metals in surface water, groundwater, stream sediments, and agricultural soils that are irrigated by streams. The PerkinElmer Optima 8000 ICP-OES is being used to analyze all water, sediment and soil samples for As, Cd, Cu, Hg, Ni and Pb. The findings of this study will be used as baseline data for future geochemical surveys, for better management of the water supply, and to increase awareness among Haitian governmental officials of the risks associated with certain industrial, mining and agricultural practices. Results will be reported at the meeting.