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Distribution of Possible Disease-Causing Inorganic Tracers from
Lignite in the Wilcox Aquifer in Caddo Parish, Louisiana
Douglas Carlson and Thomas Van Biersel
Previous investigators have demonstrated that the presence of lignite within aquifers in Europe and North America, including Louisiana, will impact the water quality of aquifers with chemical and biological agents that are suspected to cause various kidney diseases. These studies suggest that the potential disease-causing agents include nutrients, heavy metals, organic compounds, or bacterial and/or fungal agents. Previous investigators also noted that these disease-causing agents have been detected in untreated private and non-community water supply wells, but were absent in treated public supply wells. This study considered how pervasive these disease-causing agents are within domestic wells and other non-community water supply wells located in Caddo Parish, Louisiana. This study compared the concentrations of selected nutrients (ammonia, nitrogen, and phosphate) and elements (boron, chloride, chromium, fluoride, sodium, phosphorus, rubidium, and strontium that appear to have a strong correlation with kidney disease, as determined by previous studies in Louisiana. This study included 3 sets of approximately 35 to 50 wells, selected from wells in Caddo Parish, which are screened in the Wilcox Aquifer. The 3 sets of wells selected for comparison exhibited one of the following characteristics: set 1, lignite is present within their screened interval; set 2, lignite present within their borehole, but not within their screened interval; and set 3, suspected to contain lignite, but not reported in previous well reports. These 3 data sets were statistically compared with kidney disease using a ttest, a median test, and a Wilcoxon Mann-Whitney test. Water supply wells that contain lignite also show a significant correlation to elevated concentrations of B, Cl, F, Na, NH2, and Sr as compared to those that do not contain lignite.
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