Is there a relationship between soil and groundwater toxicity?

P. Sheehan, R. E. Dewhurst, S. James, A. Callaghan, Richard E Connon, M. Crane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 requires environmental regulators to assess the risk of contaminants leaching from soils into groundwater (DETR, 1999). This newly introduced legislation assumes a link between soil and groundwater chemistry, in which rainwater leaches contaminants from soil into the saturated zone. As the toxicity of both groundwater and overlying soils is dependent upon the chemicals present, their partitioning and their bioavailability, similar patterns of soil, leachates and groundwater toxicity should be observed at contaminated sites. Soil and groundwater samples were collected from different contaminated land sites in an urban area, and used to determine relationships between soil chemistry and toxicity, mobility of contaminants, and groundwater chemistry and toxicity. Soils were leached using water to mimic rainfall, and both the soils and leachates tested using bioassays. Soil bioassays were carried out using Eisenia fetida, whilst groundwater and leachates were tested using the Microtox™ test system and Daphnia magna 48 h acute tests. Analysis of the bioassay responses demonstrated that a number of the samples were toxic to test organisms, however, there were no significant statistical relationships between soil, groundwater and leachate toxicity. Nor were there significant correlations between soil, leachates and groundwater chemistry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Geochemistry and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Contamination
  • Groundwater
  • Microtox
  • Soil
  • Toxicity
  • Urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Is there a relationship between soil and groundwater toxicity?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this