Acrylamide in Groundwater

By Darrel Dunn, Ph.D., PG, Hydrogeologist

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This web page is a brief, non-technical discussion of acrylamide in groundwater that is apropos to a question from a viewer of this website.  It is not a comprehensive treatment of acrylamide in groundwater

Operations that clean or process sand from sand mines commonly use polyacrylamide (PAM) as a flocculant to remove unwanted minerals and fines from water used to wash the sand.  Acrylamide (AMD) is a chemical used in the production of polyacrylamide.  Therefore, residual acrylamide may be present in industrial sand wash water, wastewater, and sludges.  Acrylamide is water soluble and unlikely to adsorb to organic and inorganic soil components.  Consequently, potential for groundwater contamination may be a risk associated with the use of polyacrylamide as a flocculant.  Polyacrylamide itself is generally considered not toxic, but acrylamide is considered by the United States EPA to be a likely human carcinogen and neurotoxin.