Environmental Geochemistry and Health

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Groundwater laced with gasoline can create risk factors by increasing cancer possibilities and other health hazards due to toxic substances in the contaminated water. Gasoline, even though unleaded, could be dangerous if gets mixed with drinking water and sewage.


Unleaded gasoline has at least 15 hazardous substances including toluene (35%) and is classified as highly volatile and will result in vapour lock where combustion does not take place1.
When mixed in water, most of the gasoline could evaporate if the water is open, but much of it cannot evaporate in underground water making a big proportion to dissolve and this will be absorbed by sediments. For aquatic organisms, this product will be quite toxic, depending on their size and resistance capability.
Corrective action is necessary starting with site investigation. Hydrocarbon contamination with the groundwater should be stopped immediately. Its discharging point should be plugged and the nearest drains, water bodies should be sealed off, so that further contamination to distant water bodies does not happen. Residents could be evacuated if gasoline has already spread into drinking, using and sewage water or if that is not the case, water supply should be disconnected immediately and alternative water source should be provided. Complete groundwater monitoring should start immediately. Instead of one single action, it is better to perform by-monthly actions to remove all traces of gasoline from ground water, to ensure that dissolved contaminants are effectively vanishing. And groundwater sampling should be done on a regular basis through tracer testing.
If widespread presence is detected, human exposure to it should be suspe ...
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