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Water Samples Followup, Post 2018 Eruption Lerz Of Kilauea In the 2018 eruption of Kīlauea tremendous amounts of volcanic gases and particulate matter saturated Lower Puna near the eruptive fissures and downwind of their locations. Dr. Evgenia Ilyinskaya and her team of gas specialists from Universities of Leeds, Cambridge and Oxford in the UK were invited by USGS-HVO to study the emissions in July 2018 around Lower Puna. Their research shed new light on the fallout from the eruptive fissures, primarily regarding soluble heavy metals such as copper, lead, zinc, cadmium, etc. Following the end of the 2018 eruption Dr. Ilyinskaya returned to Puna to follow up on the data collected previously. We put out a request on Hawaii Tracker in July 2019 for residents on the edges of the 2018 LERZ eruption to allow us to pull water samples from their catchment tanks. We received an overwhelming response, filling every sampling container that the professor brought with her in the process. Samples were analysed at University of Leeds laboratories using Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) and Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES). Water samples were filtered prior to analysis to remove insoluble particles. This is a standard methodology for quality analysis of water samples. The biggest take away is that catchment tanks sampled after the eruption were below contaminant levels recommended by the EPA, even untreated catchments in very close proximity to Fissure 8 which exceeded EPA limits when tested during the eruption. Dr. Ilyinskaya’s thorough analysis looked at 60 possible elemental contaminants, of which 11 are listed by the EPA as contaminants for drinking water, at 27 different sites selected around the Big Island, during and after the eruption (total of 43 samples). This is a preliminary summary of those results, currently in preparation for publication. While it can be tricky to compare the first and second rounds of sampling in slightly different numbers and areas, for each contaminant we isolate the top 5 highest measurements to examine. The maximum values are useful, but also influenced by outlier effects (for example within a specific catchment tank). Thus, to standardize our comparisons and see the big-picture view past the outliers, we use the average of the 2nd through 5th highest measurements both during and after the 2018 eruption. After the eruption, 47 of the 60 contaminant types analyzed decreased their average concentration or remained unchanged. Among EPA-listed contaminants: selenium dropped by 99%, cadmium by 98%, fluoride by 96%, thallium by 95%, copper by 95%, arsenic by 90%, lead by 75%, and antimony by 41%. These are all welcome changes, as samples in Leilani Estates during the eruption measured selenium at 148% of the EPA limit, cadmium at 220%, fluorine at 275%, copper at 846%, and lead at 340%. All have dropped to acceptable levels in the post-eruption samples. Note that only one tank was sampled in Leilani Estates during the eruption (Alapai St south x 3 samples); in addition, 3 rain samples were collected in the same location. Of the remaining 13 contaminants measured there are 3 of EPA concern, but their maximum values are still well below EPA threshold levels for action: barium (at 3.1% of EPA limit), beryllium (2.8%) and chromium (10%). DATA SUMMARY: EPA contaminant concentrations during and after the 2018 eruption, as % of EPA limit | EPA Contaminant | Max % of EPA Limit, during eruption | Max % of EPA Limit, after eruption | Avg % of EPA Limit, during eruption | Avg % of EPA Limit, after eruption | | --------------- | ----------------------------------- | ---------------------------------- | ----------------------------------- | ---------------------------------- | | Selenium | 148% | 1.5% | 38% | 0.4% | | Cadmium | 220% | 1.6% | 67% | 1.1% | | Fluoride | 275% | 5.5% | 102% | 4.3% | | Thallium | 22% | 1.1% | 10% | 0.5% | | Copper | 846% | 27% | 18% | 1.0% | | Arsenic | 69% | 1.4% | 12% | 1.2% | | Lead | 340% | 13% | 28% | 7.0% | | Antimony | 48% | 158%* | 18% | 10% | | Barium | 0.6% | 3.1% | 0.3% | 0.5% | | Chromium | 2.2% | 10% | 0.9% | 2.4% | | Beryllium | 0% | 2.8% | 0% | 0.5% | *: maximum or minimum concentrations may have increased, but on average decreased. *: maximum or minimum concentrations may have increased, but on average decreased. Elements not listed as water contaminants: Traces present during eruption, but completely gone after: Terbium, Holmium, Erbium, Thulium, Ytterbium, Hafnium, Tantalum, Thorium Decrease in average concentration: Rhenium (dropped 99%), Niobium (-98%), Praseodymium (-97%), Zirconium (-97%), Cerium (-96%), Lanthanum (-96%), Neodymium (-96%), Samarium (-96%), Tellurium (-96%), Gadolinium (-95%), Dysprosium (-95%), Europium* (-93%), Titanium (-87%), Zinc (-86%), Iron (-82%), Aluminum (-76%), Sulfate (-76%), Scandium (-71%), Sulfur (-68%), Lithium (-66%), Uranium (-63%), Gallium (-96%), Chlorine (-57%), Indium (-40%), Sodium (-34%), Magnesium (-9%), Nickel* (-89%), Cesium (-51%), Potassium* (-19%) Increase in average concentration: Manganese* (+9.2%), Cobalt (+15%), Calcium (+16%), Rubidium (+37%), Vanadium (+95%), Molybdenum (+199%), Tin (+282%), Silver (+365%), Phosphorous (+544%), Boron (none before) Phosphorus is not known to be present in significant quantities in volcanic emissions, but more typically sourced from soils (especially where fertilizer is used). Most of the non-contaminant elements (with the exception of sulfur, sulfate, chlorine, indium) are sourced from ash-type particles (for example Pele’s hair) rather than from volcanic gas. These elements will be also found in high quantitites in volcanic rocks, Hawaiian soils and airborne dust. This may explain why the concentrations of some them has not changed, or even increased in 2019 compared to 2018. This may particularly happen in tanks which have remained unused since the eruption, allowing windborne soil to accummulate. None before or after: Strontium It’s difficult to characterize specific compounds without analyzing additional information from owners. For example, bleach or colloidal silver added to catchment water for purification, old copper pipes, or contamination by water from during the eruption could all obscure specific conclusions. However, in broad strokes it’s obvious that post-eruption samples are much cleaner, and Puna residents need not worry about ongoing volcanic contamination of their water.https://youtu.be/iMtf_GYaKUA

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