PhD Spotlight: Prediction and Visualisation of Arsenic Free Aquifers

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Santosh Kumar, a PhD candidate at Delft University of Technology. His research topic is about prediction and visualisation of arsenic-free aquifers.

The goal is to visualise the arsenic contamination spatially to predict safe water source in arsenic affected areas. The location for the study conducted was in my home village, Bakhorapur in Bihar.

Santosh used to be a primary school teacher in Bakhorapur. With a masters in Geology he wanted to utilise his knowledge to help his community and committed to learning about Arsenic pollution and applied for a PhD position in Delft. Arsenic is a metalloid that is well-known for causing pollution in drinking water, leading to serious health problems in the delta region worldwide. But what causes the release of arsenic from the sediments?

The secret of arsenic release lies in the oxbow lake, and the deposition of plant remains.

In his research, he modelled, quantified and calculated the amount of arsenic stored in an oxbow lake using remote sensing techniques, geomorphology and sedimentology.

And So, satellite images were used to calculate the accumulation offloading and submerged plants deposited in an oxbow lake. The organic carbon of these plants is used by anaerobic bacteria that release arsenic into the groundwater. Extraction of water by hand-pump wells creates a pressure gradient facilitating arsenic to reach the drinking water sources, which puts people at risk of arsenic contamination.

His research results can be helpful in estimating the vitality of the problem and help policymakers creating mitigation strategies.

If you want to know more about the scientific techniques involved in my studies,  They can be shared on request.

Thank you,

Santosh Kumar

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