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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1678-4464Print version ISSN 0102-311X


SILVA, Rosimar Lima Brandão; BARRA, Cristina Maria; MONTEIRO, Teófilo Carlos do Nascimento  and  BRILHANTE, Ogenis Magno. A study of groundwater contamination with organic fuels and potential public health impact in Itaguaí, Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2002, vol.18, n.6, pp.1599-1607. ISSN 1678-4464.

Increasing attention is current focused on urban groundwater contamination with gasoline hydrocarbon compounds in Brazil. The compounds benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) contained in fuels are highly toxic and can have severe public health consequences, besides posing the risk of intake from the water table by way of contamination. After two years of a steady gasoline storage tank leak, water samples from private household wells in the district of Brisa Mar, Itaguaí, Rio de Janeiro State, were analyzed and the concentration of BTEX compounds was evaluated. Two out of ten water samples from the study area presented BTEX concentrations above the National Water Quality Standard (Brazilian Health Ministry Ruling No. 1469/2000), in which the maximum permissible benzene concentration is 5µg.L-1. Four others wells were also contaminated with nitrate, responsible for the induction of methemoglobinemia. Natural attenuation (intrinsic biodegradation) mechanisms through electron acceptors was also investigated in this study.

Keywords : Water Pollution; Pollution Indicators; Contamination.

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