Factors regulating the occurrence of fluoride in groundwater were investigated using natural isotope tracers and geochemical data in the southeastern part of Korea where about 10% of the total public water-supply wells (n=422) inspected in this study had fluoride levels exceeding the drinking water limit of Korea (1.5 mg/l). The F-rich public wells are mostly distributed along the major faults, especially in the terrain of the F-rich granitic rocks. The stable isotope analysis results provide substantial information for the relative ages of groundwaters. It is revealed that the F-rich groundwaters are deeply circulating paleogroundwaters and occur along the faults due to upward flow along the fault plane. While reacting with granitic rocks for a prolonged period, the F concentrations of groundwater are continuously enriched even after the groundwater reaches an equilibrium state with respect to fluorite (CaF2) due to removal of Ca by precipitation of calcite (CaCO3). These observations reflect that rock chemistry, groundwater age, well depth, and geologic structure are the important factors controlling the occurrence of high F groundwaters. However, high F groundwaters are rarely observed in the fault zones where the associated fractures are widely developed. Isotopic signature provides an evidence for deep penetration of recently recharged groundwater into the wide fault zone, indicating that the hydrologic condition of the fault is also an important factor controlling the occurrence of high F groundwaters.
*Original abstract online at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15686758