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Title
The 3rd ISPRS Workshop on Dynamic and Multi-Dimensional GIS & the 10th Annual Conference of CPGIS on Geoinformatics
Author
Chen, Jun

ISPRS, Vol.34, Part 2W2, “Dynamic and Muiti-Dimensional GIS 1 ', Bangkok, May 23-25, 2001
CIS AIDED CHARACTERIZATION OF SOIL AND GROUNDWATER ARSENIC CONTAMINATION
IN SOUTHERN THAILAND
Jianjun ZHANG \ Xiaoyong CHEN * 2 , Preeda PARKPIAN 3 , Monthip Sriratana TABUCANON 4
Janewit WONGSANOON 4 Kensuke FUKUSHI 3 , Skorn MONGKOLSUK 5 and N.C.THANH 3 ’
Environmental Toxicology Technology and Management/Urban Environmental Engineering and Management Program /
School of Environment, Resources and Development/Asian Institute of Technology (AIT)
Mail box: 1201, Asian Institute of Technology P.O. Box: 4, KlongLuang, Pathumthani, 12120, Thailand
Tel. 66-2-524-5639; Fax: 66-2-516-2126 Email:superchinazii@vahoo.com
3 Space Technology Applications and Research Program, AIT, Thailand
4 Urban Environmental Engineering and Management Program, AIT, Thailand
5 4 The Environmental Research and Training Center (ERTC), Bangkok, Thailand
Laboratory of Biotechnology, Chulabhorn Research Institute (CRI), Bangkok, Thailand
KEYWORDS: GIS, Arsenic Contamination, Groundwater, Soil
ABSTRACT
As a result of extensive and long term tin mining activities, huge amount of mining waste was dumped along the hillside, riverbank, and
even buried underground in Ron Phibun district, Na Khon Si Thammarat province, Thailand. More than 1,000 arsenism patients had
been identified since 1987 due to the consumption of arsenic containing drinking water. In order to understand clearly the current
situation of arsenic contamination, a large-scale survey was conducted from September 1998 to March 2000 by JICA-ERTC
(Environmental Research and Training Center) team within an area of 14 km 2 . The patients' distribution, arsenic level of surface water
(rivers and ponds), groundwater (deep wells and shallow wells), surface soil were integrated with GIS database (ArcView GIS version
3.1) collected in that locale. With the help of this database, the interpolated arsenic level in ground water, surface soil were made
possible on the map with emphasis on the highly contaminated hot spots. It was obvious that most part of the area has total arsenic
level in shallow groundwater higher than the WHO recommended level (0.05mg/L), with mean value of 0.53mg/L, and the highest value
of 64mg/L (HG-AAS method). Six highly contaminated areas were identified in the studied Ronphibun Basin where the supposed
mechanism of arsenic release was different respectively. The correlation between arsenic level in soil or groundwater and the distance
to mining plants and waste sites were analyzed. Comparison of arsenic level in groundwater in dry and rainy season was conducted, so
as to estimate the dynamic fluctuations of arsenic contamination. The significant correlation between the distribution of arsenism
patients and the location of high arsenic groundwater was observed. Recommendations including the treatment of groundwater,
removal of contaminated soil, finding of alternative drinking water sources are proposed. This GIS database provided a feasible
approach to the further management on the removal of arsenic contaminated soil and the consecutive monitoring of ground water. Also,
it provided an effective method for the assessment of exposure and potential health consequences as well as the planning and
implementation of long term sanitation measures for the local government.
1. INTRODUCTION
Arsenic is a ubiquitous element present in various compounds
throughout the earth’s crust. It is widely distributed in the
environment, and all humans are exposed to low levels of
arsenic (WHO 1981). However, high level arsenic exposure to
human being has occurred for decades mainly via drinking
water due to some natural (geological, volcanic activities) and
anthropogenic activities (industrial pollution, mining,
agriculture)(Arrykul 1996, Chanpen, 1998). Among the four
chemical valence of 0, -3, +3, +5, arsenic (+3) is the most toxic
species. Arsenism is the result of long-term ingestion of
arsenic from water, food, or other sources, which has many
aspects, such as cutaneous manifestations (skin pigmentation
changes, keratosis), peripheral vascular disease (Blackfoot
Disease and Roynaud's syndrome), the higher mortality rate
from cancer of bladder, kidney, the systemic arterial disease
resulting in myocardial infarction, changes in
electromyographic patterns, and mutagenic, teratogenic
effects, etc. WHO has recommended lowering permissible
concentrations of drinking water standard for arsenic from 50
pg/L to 10 pg/L, while the USEPA suggests the limit level to 2
Mg/L (Allan H. Smith, et al 1999), because of the extrapolation
of skin cancer risks from a population in Chinese Taiwan with
high levels of arsenic in their drinking water. Unfortunately,
arsenic contamination has become a problem in many parts of
the world, from the mine tailings leaching in United States,
Canada, Mexico, Thailand, Japan, United Kingdom, and
Australia, also from the arsenic in natural acquifers now or
recently used for water supply in Bangladesh, India, United
States, Hungary, Chile, China, Argentina, Chinese Taiwan,
Ghana, Mexico, Philippines and New Zealand.
Geographic Information System (GIS) is a valuable scientific
tool used since 1960s. It's applications now span a wide
range, from simple inventory and management to
sophisticated analysis and modeling of spatial data. It is also
used in environment science, such as the successful models in
atmospheric, land and subsurface, hydrological, biological and
ecological; in epidemiology field to disclose the relationship
between a specific disease and a location. All these
applications not only facilitate the understanding of the applied
field, but also provide strong supports for decision-makers to
take necessary actions. (Goodchild, 1993)
Recently, GIS was used in an arsenic mitigation program in
Bangladesh groundwater system (Ahmadul, 1998). It
completed the many aspects of arsenic problems, including
analysis of present groundwater conditions, assessment of
exposure and potential health consequences and planning and
implementation of emergency and long term sanitation
measures. The evaluation of public health impact in a public
health assessment is based on available environmental,
demographic, health outcome data and community health
concerns. The application of GIS into this field has showed
advantages not only on the display of general site information,
demographic data, environmental data, but also the analysis of
spatial relationship between public health outcome and
specific environmental event. Based on this evaluation, public
health actions are taken or recommended to reduce, eliminate,
communicate or further evaluate the possibility of health
impact. In this work, an extensive geological and geochemical
survey was conducted by Japan International Cooperation
Agency (JICA) and Environmental Research and Training
Center (ERTC) in order to understand clearly the current
situation of arsenic pollution in Ronphibun area of southern
Thailand from September 1998 to March 2000. The overall
objective of this study is aimed at developing a GIS database
so as to depict the arsenic contamination and guide the
consecutive monitoring and management of arsenic pollution,
Supported by Visiting Scholar Foundation of Keb Lab. In Wuhan University, P. R China
357