2.1 Water Quality at the Smelter

Indicator 2.1 - Groundwater and surface water quality at smelter


Yfirborðsvatn við álver

Here you can see results from measurements of acidity (pH) and fluorine (F)  in surface water in Reyðarfjörður.





Results



2.1-mynd1Figure 1: Annual average acidity (pH) measured in samples from four rivers in Reyðarfjörður from the year  2004 (background level)  to 2016.




                Figure 2: Annual average fluorine (mg/L) content measured in samples from rivers and Grænavatn lake in Reyðarfjörður from the year 2004( background level) to 2016.



Sofnunarstadir-fyrir-vatn-og-snjo-a-Reydarfirdi




Figure 3: Sampling locations  (W1, W2, W3 and W4) for water and snow in Reyðarfjörður.



Table 1:  Acidity (pH) and fluorine (F) values measured in surface water near Alcoa Fjarðaál smelter (fluorine measured as mg F/L)

 
Acidity (pH)
Fluorine (F)
  2007
7.34 0.028
  2008
7.22
0.034
  2009 6.94
0.077
  2010
7.01
0.050
  2011
6.92
0.050
  2012
7.25
0.027
  2013
7.26
0.040
  2014
7.31
0.019 
  2015
7.29
0.031 
  2016  7.41 0.038 

Obs:  The values for Fluorine in Table 1 where corrected, on October 29 2013,  for the years 2007, 2008 and 2009.


Updated:  July 28 2017

Source:  Alcoa Fjarðaál 2017


Metrics, Targets and Monitoring Protocol


What is measured?

Concentrations (mg/l) of phosphorous (P), fluoride (F), chlorine (Cl), and sulfate (SO4) in groundwater and surface water at established sample locations at the smelter site and near the smelter outfall. (Project effect: indirect).

Monitoring Protocol

Soil samples (groundwater) will be collected and analyzed for concentration of F, Cl, SO4, and pH (sampling protocols yet to be determined as per A. W. Davison)

  • Surface water is collected and analyzed for concentrations of F, SO4, Cl, heavy metals, PAH-16, alkalinity, and pH.


Data is collected according to this schedule:

  • Groundwater: Every year 2004-2008.
  • Surface water: Every three months from 2005-2008.
  • Surface snow and snowmelt: Every year from 2005-2008.

Target

Targets for constituents in surface water and groundwater to be based on baseline study results.

Possible countermeasures

The companies can arrange their activity and make improvements if pollution is over permissive limits.


Changes of indicator

In fourth phase of the initiative the numbers of the sustainability were changed. This indicator was originally number 22.2 and is referenced as 22.2 in early documents of the project.


Rationale for Indicator Selection


Currently, 95% of the freshwater used in Iceland is untreated groundwater. The remaining freshwater is a combination of treated and untreated surface water.

Because the majority of the Icelandic population uses untreated potable water, maintenance of acceptable water quality standards is vital to the sustainability of the local communities.

The presence of industrial facilities creates the potential for direct contamination of local groundwater. All facility discharges (solid, liquid, gaseous) have the potential to influence water quality.

Further reading


Results from measurements of soil samples (only in Icelandic)

FLuoride-what is it and what are its effects on humans?  - Article by Alan Davison