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Summary A detailed local-scale monitoring network was used to assess CFC distribution in an unconfined sand aquifer in southwestern Ontario where the zone of 1–5-year-old groundwater was known with certainty because of prior use of a bromide tracer. Groundwater ⩽5 years old was confined to an aerobic zone at ⩽5 m depth and had CFC concentrations consistent with modern atmospheric mixing ratios at recharge temperatures of 7–11 °C, as was observed in the 3-m thick vadose zone at the site. At depths below 6 m, the groundwater became progressively more reducing, however, with a denitrifying horizon at 6–7 m depth, and a Mn and Fe reducing zone below 7 m depth. In the anaerobic zone, 3H/3He ratios indicated that groundwater-age...