Groundwater Contamination in the Kurdistan region of Iraq: Geological controls on hydrocarbon leakage.


Ground water in the northern part of Iraq including the Kurdistan region is significantly contaminated, with long-term impacts on the citizens daily exposed to contaminated water. Ignorance of the causes and potential mitigation steps have so far prevented remediation. Exploring the potential sources of ground water contamination in the region will aid to 1) mitigate the water deficit in the region, 2) implement better administration and rules to manage the ground water in the region, 3) save peoples’ lives from the harmful contaminants, and 4) protecting the agricultural lands in the region. 5) Enhancing and maintaining the oil production in Taq Taq oil field; the drilled oil wells in Taq Taq oil field have problems in which the wells are collapsing frequently.

The ground water contamination in the region has two potential contaminant sources including 1) Geochemical contamination by dissolved salts and 2) hydrocarbon migration.

The above research hypotheses will be tested in two stages A) Exploration stage including 1. Geophysical Investigation 2. Geological Investigation 3. Hydro-Geochemical Investigation. B) Mitigation stage including 1. Creating a subsurface model from the geological, geophysical and hydro-geochemical data collected in stage one. 2. Implementing a preventive and remedy plan to mitigate the impact of the potential contaminants based on the model of the former stage. Additionally, we are using Br/Cl and SO4/Cl ratios to Cl concentration to differentiate contaminations originated from the dissolved salts within the bedrock versus contamination originated from the oil leakage of the oil fields in the region and the hydrocarbon migration pathways.

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