loading page

Unsaturated Zone Leaching Model-driven Probabilistic Human Health Risk Assessment of Groundwater System in the vicinity of Chandigarh Dumping Site, India
  • Abhay Guleria,
  • Sharad Kumar Gupta,
  • Sumedha Chakma
Abhay Guleria
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Sharad Kumar Gupta
Punjab Remote Sensing Centre: Ludhiana
Author Profile
Sumedha Chakma
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India
Author Profile


The human health risk assessment (HHRA) of groundwater system in the vicinity of Chandigarh dumping site was conducted, assuming oral ingestion and dermal contact exposure scenarios. Observed data of lead (Pb) concentration in the leachate was used to compute cancer risk (CR) by integrating unsaturated 1-D leaching model with probabilistic HHRA framework. The 99 percentile and maximum value of lead (Pb) concentration at the water table was estimated as 0.089 mg/L and 0.506 mg/L, respectively, for pre-monsoon season, higher than the safe limit of 0.050 mg/L. In contrast, for the post-monsoon season, only the maximum value of Pb concentration exceeded the safe limit. Results from 10,000 Monte Carlo simulations showed that the 99 percentile and maximum value of CR for all the sub-populations during pre-monsoon exceeded the safe limit (>10 ) via oral ingestion exposure to Pb-contaminated groundwater. The 95 percentile value of CR for adult sub-population was estimated as 1.05 x 10 for premonsoon; however, for the post-monsoon season, only maximum values of CR exceeded the safe limit. The cancer risk estimates for the pre-monsoon and post-monsoon seasons via skin dermal contact exposure were found to be lower than the safe level, posing no danger to human health. Among sub-populations, the order of posing CR was found to be in the order as adults (>18 years) > child I (1-5 years) > teen (11-18 years) > child II (6-10 years). Uncertainty analysis showed that the lead concentration (>95% variance contribution), as a major contributor towards uncertainty in the risk estimates, while event duration (t ), exposure duration (ED), and ingestion rate (IR) were observed as minor contributors. The approach presented in this study considered the uncertainty in the unsaturated leaching model parameters along with uncertainty in the exposure model parameters, thus can help decision-makers in estimating risk from open dumping sites with minimal data availability.