Date and Time
Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, 16-18 Queen Square, Bath BA1 2HN
Most bottled water is marketed in the UK as either “Natural Mineral Water” or “Spring Water”. To comply with EU legislation such waters must be from an underground source; in other words they are groundwaters.
The ultimate source of most groundwater is rain and snow melt. This rapidly dissolves CO2 as it infiltrates through the soil, forming a weak acid which is very effective in dissolving rock minerals. The final composition of groundwater arises through a complex interaction of factors. However, certain geochemical characteristics such as the Mg/Ca ratio will be determined by the host rock, other constituents such as Cl may be dominated by atmospheric inputs and others such as SO4, NO3 and K may be influenced more by man’s activities. An understanding of these factors enables the hydrogeologist to unravel the geochemistry of a groundwater.
These processes will be illustrated by reference to common bottled waters which can be bought in any supermarket.
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