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Indication of Groundwater Contamination Using Acesulfame and Other Pollutants in a Rural Area of Korea

Department of Geological Sciences, Pusan National University, Busan 46241, Korea
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Pusan National University, Busan 46241, Korea
Soil and Groundwater Division, National Institute of Environmental Research, Incheon 22689, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(12), 1731;
Received: 1 October 2018 / Revised: 3 November 2018 / Accepted: 21 November 2018 / Published: 26 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Pollution and Treatment: Challenges and Opportunities)
PDF [4357 KB, uploaded 27 November 2018]


Approximately 40,000 chemical products are currently used in Korea; these products can contaminate the groundwater/soil, the surrounding environment, and organisms for extended periods of time. In this study, a hydrological field survey, a water quality analysis, and groundwater modeling were performed to identify the source and transport path of pollution that was caused by inorganic matter and artificial sweeteners, especially acesulfame, in the groundwater of an agricultural area in Chungnam Province, Korea. In the study area, a higher concentration of acesulfame displayed a spatial distribution similar to nitrate-nitrogen concentration. The characteristics of the groundwater flow and the distribution of the acesulfame were simulated using the Visual MODFLOW Classic Interface ver. 2014.1 and the MT3DMS module, respectively. The modeled area was divided into hilly (southern), residential (northwest), and agricultural (northeast) zones. The stream’s boundary was set to be the drainage channel in the southern hilly zone. From the simulation, we found that acesulfame spread actively from the source for 1–3 years before it reached equilibrium in the northern part of the model domain (the area downstream of the stream’s boundary). The concentration of acesulfame in the agricultural zone of the model domain decreased after five years, and it reached the steam boundary and residential zone within 10 years. After 10 years, most of the acesulfame was discharged from the agricultural zone and the hilly zone, while the concentration in the residential zone was approximately the same. Acesulfame is considered to be a potential indicator of man-made contamination for use in the management of groundwater quality. View Full-Text
Keywords: rural area; acesulfame; artificial sweeteners; groundwater modeling; pollution indicator rural area; acesulfame; artificial sweeteners; groundwater modeling; pollution indicator

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Lee, C.-M.; Hamm, S.-Y.; Yun, S.-M.; Oh, J.-E.; Kim, M.; Kim, H.K. Indication of Groundwater Contamination Using Acesulfame and Other Pollutants in a Rural Area of Korea. Water 2018, 10, 1731.

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