Evidence for the removal of CFC-11, CFC-12, and CFC-113 at the groundwater-surface water interface in the Everglades

James D. Happell, René M. Price, Zafer Top, Peter K. Swart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Poor agreement between 3H/3He ages and CFC-11 and CFC-12 ages suggests that CFCs may not be conservative tracers in the Everglades National Park. 3H/3He ages were used to calculate the expected concentration of CFC-11 and CFC-12 in groundwater from wells 2 to 73 m deep. The expected concentrations of CFCs were compared to the measured concentrations and plots of the % CFC-12 and CFC-11 remaining offered no evidence that significant CFC removal was occurring in the groundwater at depths ≥2 m, suggesting that CFC removal occurs at shallower depths. Except where CFC contamination was suspected, CFC-11, CFC-12 and CFC-113 concentrations in fresh surface water were nearly always below solubility equilibrium with the atmosphere. Measurements of CFC-11, CFC-12 and CFC-113 in pore water indicate a 50-90% decrease in concentration 5 cm below the groundwater-surface water (GW-SW) interface. In the same 5 cm interval CH 4 concentrations increased by 300-1000%. This suggested that CFCs were removed at the GW-SW interface, possibly by methane-producing bacteria. CFC derived recharge ages should therefore be viewed with caution when recharging water percolates through anoxic methanogenic sediments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-105
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Aug 25 2003


  • Biodegradation
  • Chlorofluorocarbons
  • Groundwater
  • Tracers
  • Tritium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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