On the development of a new methodology for groundwaterdriven health risk assessment

Reed M. Maxwell, Susan D. Pelmulder, Andrew F.B. Tompson, William E. Kastenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


A methodology and hypothetical case study are presented for incorporation of uncertainty and variability into calculations of human health risk appropriate for regional, or basin-scale, groundwater management problems. Uncertainty in well water concentration is introduced through complex contaminant migration patterns in the subsurface. Variability is considered in parameters related to individual behavior patterns and biological effects and to groundwater extraction and distribution networks. A joint uncertainty and variability (JUV) analysis is used to generate a two-dimensional distribution or risk surface that spans both transport uncertainty as well as individual variability. Cuts in this distributional surface (fractiles of variability and percentiles of uncertainty) are presented and discussed. Comparisons with alternative approaches based upon deterministic transport models are also made. In addition, important distinctions are made between the case where household water is derived from the nearest well and the case where household water is mixed from many wells in a distribution system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)833-847
Number of pages15
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1998
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology


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