Ground Water And Cemeteries Essay

835 words - 4 pages

The earth is made up of 97.5% ocean and an even smaller amount of 2.5% fresh water. Of that 2.5% a large majority of fresh water comes from glaciers and then only 30.1% of that is ground water (Visualizing Physical Geography pg 329). In the grand scheme of water on our planet that 30.1% is a very small resource for the world to utilize. Ground water is not only what is seen in rivers, lakes and streams it also includes water below the surface. The water below the surface is where the majority of the water we use on a daily basis comes from. It is imperative that the ground water is protected to up most of humanities ability.
Cemeteries have a role in protecting ground water below their ...view middle of the document...

Environmental threats could come from burials in the ground. Body decomposition alone has two types of decomposition. There is the natural and the synthetic sources of possible contaminants.
Natural decomposition releases water and all naturally occurring biological elements however they rarely become mineralized and may not necessarily affect the environment (A. Williams et al. Concern for the environment comes from the large amounts of ammonium and other nitrogenous compounds. These compounds can become mobile and threaten the ground water under or near the cemetery. The other side of decomposition comes from synthetic materials buried with the body. Materials such as clothing or cloth like material in the coffin will eventually decompose leaching things such as dye, plastics and metal into the ground which will eventually find their way into the ground water system below the cemetery.
Cemetaries containing large numbers of corpses are a significant source for contamination not just in the ground water but in the ground itself. As moisture and water rise to the surface through different means, contaminants from bodies can percolate to the surface causing soil contamination and eventually off gases that can pollute the air. History is full of examples where water sources close to cemeteries are known to have some negative influence on local water sources. Williams uses an example from a document composed in 1978. The document discusses an example from Paris, where water sources close to a cemetery were found to have sweetish...

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