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Types of Contamination

Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer has the knowledge and experience to work with you on all of your environmental hazard concerns.

Our experienced advice on current environmental regulations has benefited local and county sewer and water authorities, as well as our industrial clients.

We provide our knowledge to Fortune 500 companies on a wide array of environmental topics, from sale of business items to chemical manufacturing.

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Sources of Contamination

There are three main types of contamination which individual home-owners, businesses, and workers should worry about. They include ground water contamination, soil contamination and air contamination.

Ground Water Contamination

Ground water contamination usually arises when individuals have wells. In those circumstances, the ground aquifer is contaminated with the specific chemical or chemicals released by the responsible party. This material then develops into a plume and infiltrates the various well water sources. Individuals that own the wells are then exposed to the chemicals by ingestion (drinking the water), skin contact (bathing with the water), and inhalation (breathing steam from the water).

In addition to being exposed to ground water contamination through wells, ground water contamination can also result in areas of low water tables with atmospheric or air contamination in people's homes. If the chemicals are volatile, such as gasoline or other materials, they may escape into people's basements and may be trapped, thereby exposing the home-owner who may inhale the fumes.

Soil Contamination

Another type of contamination is soil contamination. This can occur as discussed above with ground water contamination but also can occur when streams or other bodies of water are contaminated with heavy metals or chemicals. When areas flood, these heavy metals and chemicals are deposited on an individual's property and thus contaminate the soil. People can be exposed to these contaminants in the following ways: skin contact (walking on the soil or gardening); inhalation (creating dust in the yard or tracking dust into the home); ingestion (eating vegetables grown in the soil).

Air Contamination

The last major type of contamination is atmospheric, or air contamination. This occurs in various ways and can be caused by ground water contamination or soil contamination, as discussed above. Also, atmospheric contamination can occur when chemical companies or other businesses are releasing noxious fumes into the air, which then drift over to people's homes and are thus inhaled by people in the area.