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Unusual sources of aluminium and heavy metals in potable waters


Aluminium in water supplies derives from natural sources and from the use of Al2(SO4)3 in water treatment. Heavy metals such as Pb, Cu, Zn and Cd can be added to water from pipework and solder. However, it is apparent that AI and other metals in potable waters can derive from deposits on pipe walls which can be subsequently mobilised when the supply and/or treatment process is changed. Concentrations of Al in domestic supply water of the Llanbrynmair area have been shown to increase from 1 μg to 50 μg L−1 during its 18 km journey along the water main. Similarly, Pb concentrations in a public building in the Aberystwyth area are found to be extremely elevated due to the metal's mobilisation from encrustations occurring on the copper pipework.

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Fuge, R., Pearce, N.J.G. & Perkins, W.T. Unusual sources of aluminium and heavy metals in potable waters. Environ Geochem Health 14, 15–18 (1992).

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  • Copper
  • Aluminium
  • Heavy Metal
  • Geochemistry
  • Supply Water