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Over-pumping sucks arsenic into Hanoi's water: study

Published on Sep 12, 2013 6:14 AM

PARIS (AFP) - Arsenic has infiltrated an aquifer that provides water for the Vietnamese capital Hanoi, scientists said on Wednesday, warning that the phenomenon could also occur elsewhere.

Massive over-pumping of the aquifer caused the problem, but the threat is advancing slowly and Hanoi has ample time to deal with it, they said.

The experts said the phenomenon was a threat in other locations where naturally occurring arsenic lies dangerously close to over-exploited groundwater.

"This is the first time we've been able to show that a previously clean aquifer has been contaminated," said Dr Alexander van Geen, a professor of geochemistry at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York.

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