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Forensic Hydrology

Volume 6 Number 4 July/August 2007

What is the source of perchlorate in a groundwater basin? Who released gasoline into an aquifer? What makes one river’s water so saline? Where does the water that supplies a riparian area originate? Forensic hydrology applies to both groundwater and surface water, and to water quality and quantity issues. A number of hydrologic “tools” are available to help provide answers. Isotopic analyses offer insight to a variety of investigations, as described in several articles. Standard geochemical analyses, microbial source tracking, aerial photos, and other methods can contribute valuable information, too. The key is to match the right tool or combination of tools to the situation to avoid ambiguous results. And, should you find yourself invited to a courthouse, insights from our authors could help you prepare.

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