Salt Water Intrusion

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Salt Water Intrusion and Salination
By: Ryan Tallman
University of Phoenix 2009

In this modern world we are faced with many different issues. Sometimes we forget that the majority of our earth is covered in oceans and freshwater. Almost two thirds of the world’s population lives within 250 miles of an ocean coastline. One of the many issues we are facing in our waters is saltwater intrusion and salinization. Saltwater intrusion and salinization is defined as the increase of chloride ion concentrations in freshwater aquifers or more simply put the movement of saline water into freshwater aquifers. When fresh water is withdrawn at a faster rate than it can be replenished, as a result the water table is drawn down. This also reduces the hydrostatic pressure. When this happens near an ocean coastal area, salt water from the ocean is pulled into the aquifer resulting in saltwater intrusion. This occurs more often along our coastlines, though there have been cases of this occurrence inland. Saltwater intrusion can be caused by many different actions, some natural and some that are caused by human activities. The natural causes of saltwater intrusion are seen as storm surges that are caused by hurricanes and other tropical storms. This was seen in 2005 when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit land along the Gulf Coast of the United States. Tidal flushing removed some of the introduced salinity in the freshwater marshes before substantial damage was done. However in the areas where tidal flushing was not an option and where precipitation was not able to flush the salt water from the water table, there was considerable damage to the freshwater systems. Some human causes result from human activities like construction of navigation channels or oil field canals. These channels and canals provide conduits for salt water from the Gulf of Mexico to reach deep into inland marshes. Saltwater intrusion can be detrimental to these marshes because water with high salt...
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