Recovery of groundwater in the Sanriku region contaminated by the tsunami inundation from the 2011 Tohoku earthquake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Many wells in the Sanriku region used as sources for water supply systems were heavily contaminated by the tsunami of the 2011 great Tohoku earthquake on March 11 in 2011. To better understand the nature of the groundwater contamination by the tsunami inundation and to clarify the recovery process of contaminated groundwater at the study wells, groundwater monitoring has been conducted once or twice yearly since early summer in 2011. High and abnormal values of electric conductivity (EC), chloride ion concentration (CIC), Na+, Ca+, heavy metal ions, and heavier isotopes of the contaminated groundwater were also obtained in April and June 2011. The chemical elements have rapidly and exponentially decreased as a result of effective pumping of the contaminated groundwater from the study wells and because of abundant rainfall in 2011. In April 2015 (about 4 years after the tsunami inundation), the CIC and EC of the contaminated groundwater of two study wells in Minamisanriku town had reached pre-inundation values. The estimated residence times of groundwater of the two study wells were 105–118 days in the full-day pumping stage and 910–1000 days in the daytime-only pumping stage.


External organisations
  • Hiroshima University
  • Kumamoto University
  • Nagasaki University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources


  • CIC, Groundwater contamination, Isotope, Tohoku, Tsunami
Original languageEnglish
Article number250
JournalEnvironmental Earth Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 1
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes