As of the end of 2013, Korea’s groundwater quality monitoring network has a total of 2,595 locations and consists of a dedicated water quality monitoring network operated by the Ministry of Environment, monitoring networks installed by each of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for their own purposes, and regional monitoring networks operated by regional environment offices and city and provincial public offices. There are 20 investigation items, including 15 specified hazardous pollutants, four standard pollutants, and electrical conductivity, which are measured on site. Items vary slightly depending on the purpose and area of the monitoring network.

Groundwater quality monitoring network operation in 2012 indicated that 6.5% (322) of the total of 4,952 samples exceeded groundwater quality limits. Drinking groundwater limits were exceeded in 12.2% of samples, which was higher than the 4.2% for non-drinking samples. The main cause of this was total coliforms and nitrate nitrogen in drinking groundwater. Accounting for most of the noncompliance, total coliforms and nitrate nitrogen contamination appears to be due to inadequate hygiene management and well facilities, highlighting the need for efforts to prevent groundwater contamination by improving hygiene management and facilities.

In terms of contaminants, standard pollutants accounted for 75.5% of samples that exceeded the limits, with total coliforms at 40.3%, nitrate nitrogen at 14.4%, and chloride ion at 12.7%. The remaining 24.5% of samples exceeded limits for specified hazardous pollutants, with TCE at 10.1%, arsenic at 6.2%, and PCE at 3.7%. Nitrate nitrogen contamination was found throughout the country and appears to be spreading in shallow groundwater due to agricultural activities, sewage, and livestock wastewater. TCE and PCE are commonly used in textile and metal detergents, with contamination observed in industrial complexes and urban residential areas.

Noncompliance Rates of Groundwater Quality Standards


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Last modified : 2017-12-12 08:38

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