Fluoride Action Network

FIMAR: A new Fluoride Index to mitigate geogenic contamination by Managed Aquifer Recharge

Source: Chemosphere, 220:381-390. | January 14th, 2019 | By L. Kalpana, K.Brindha, L.Elango.
Location: India


  • About 40% of the groundwater samples have fluoride above 1.5?mg/L.
  • New Fluoride Index applied to identify sites for mitigating geogenic contamination by Managed Aquifer Recharge (FIMAR).
  • FIMAR indicates 30% of the study area is suitable for MAR.
  • Results from FIMAR is validated through numerical and geochemical models.
  • Rejuvenating the existing water bodies will increase recharge by 40% and reduce fluoride below 1.5?mg/L.


The objective of this study is to develop a Fluoride Index for mitigation of geogenic contamination by Managed Aquifer Recharge (FIMAR). This index was tested by applying to the Pambar river basin in southern India. About 40% of the study area had fluoride >1.5?mg/L, contributed from the dissolution of fluorite, fluorapatite, biotite and hornblende. The relationship between groundwater level and fluoride concentration exhibited two types of relationship. In shallow wells, groundwater recharge during monsoon increases the groundwater level and dilutes the fluoride concentration. During summer, evaporation decreases the groundwater levels and increases the fluoride content. In deep wells, the fluoride-rich salts that is deposited in the unsaturated zone due to evaporation in the pre-monsoon season is flushed during groundwater recharge and thus, the fluoride concentration increases with increase in groundwater level. This relationship was used as a key layer in FIMAR. Overlay analysis including the well type derived from the groundwater level and fluoride fluctuation, average fluoride concentration, geology, geomorphology, soil, drainage density, land use, lineament density and thickness of the weathered zone indicated 30% of the area was suitable for MAR to mitigate fluoride contamination. Since the construction of new MAR structures is cost-intensive, it is proposed to rejuvenate the existing ponds in the areas identified by FIMAR to induce recharge and dilute fluoride concentration. The positive impact was confirmed using numerical and geochemical modelling. This proves that FIMAR can be used as a planning tool in fluoride endemic areas and that the future MAR methods will be beneficial to mitigate geogenic fluoride contamination.

*Abstract online January 14, 2019, at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0045653518324068?dgcid=raven_sd_recommender_email