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Volume :38 Issue : 1 2011      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

An application of ecological risk assessment principles to identify and prioritize groundwater pollution sources at a petrochemical factory in Kuwait

Auther : M. AL-SENAFY*, A. FADLELMAWLA, A. AL-KHALID, K. AL-FAHAD, H. BHANDARY AND A. AL-HADDAD

*Water Resources Division, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research,

P. O. Box 24885, Safat 13109. E mail:msenafy@kisr.edu.kw

ABSTRACT

The studied facility is a petrochemical factory within a large industrial complex area located at the southern shoreline of Kuwait. Having been a major producer of urea and ammonia for more than 40 years, groundwater underneath the factory has been exposed to a significant pollution risk. This paper presents the efforts made to assess the impacts of the factorys operations, and to prioritize the preventive measures needed to minimize the future risk on groundwater. Designed according to risk analysis principles, this study was divided into three main stages: (i) problem formulation, (ii) resources and, (iii) risk characterization. A total of 13 piezometers and 6 monitoring wells with depths ranging between 10 and 15 meters were drilled to enable characterization and regular monitoring of the aquifer system. Based on groundwater monitoring, elevated levels (in excess of 1,000 g/l) of nitrate and ammonia were discovered. Using geo-statistical weighing and scoring methods, the potential pollution sources were given qualitative risk levels. The highest risk factors are the exhaust stacks, conveyor belt, ammonia pressure units, and the top soil. The study recommended several steps for groundwater protection, remediation and worker safety.

Keywords: monitoring well; pollution; remediation; test hole; urea.

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