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Water 2016, 8(11), 474; doi:10.3390/w8110474

Quantifying Apparent Groundwater Ages near Managed Aquifer Recharge Operations Using Radio-Sulfur (35S) as an Intrinsic Tracer

1
Department of Earth Science, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
2
Environmental Support and Programmatic Outreach, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA 94551, USA
3
Nuclear and Chemical Sciences Division, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA 94551, USA
4
CSIR Natural Resources and the Environment (retired), Stellenbosch 7559, ZA, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Pieter Stuyfzand
Received: 22 August 2016 / Revised: 14 October 2016 / Accepted: 18 October 2016 / Published: 25 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Quality Considerations for Managed Aquifer Recharge Systems)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2085 KB, uploaded 25 October 2016]   |  

Abstract

The application of the cosmogenic radioisotope sulfur-35 (35S) as a chronometer near spreading basins is evaluated at two well-established Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) sites: the Atlantis facility (South Africa) and Orange County Water District’s (OCWD’s) Kraemer Basin (Northern Orange County, CA, USA). Source water for both of these sites includes recycled wastewater. Despite lying nearer to the outlet end of their respective watersheds than to the headwaters, 35S was detected in most of the water sampled, including from wells found close to the spreading ponds and in the source water. Dilution with 35S-dead continental SO4 was minimal, a surprising finding given its short ~3 month half-life. The initial work at the Atlantis MAR site demonstrated that remote laboratories could be set up and that small volume samples—saline solutions collected after the resin elution step from the recently developed batch method described below—can be stored and transported to the counting laboratory. This study also showed that the batch method needed to be altered to remove unknown compounds eluted from the resin along with SO4. Using the improved batch method, times series measurements of both source and well water from OCWD’s MAR site showed significant temporal variations. This result indicates that during future studies, monthly to semi-monthly sampling should be conducted. Nevertheless, both of these initial studies suggest the 35S chronometer may become a valuable tool for managing MAR sites where regulations require minimum retention times. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydrologic tracers; travel time; retention time; radio-sulfur (35S); Atlantis MAR Facility (South Africa); Orange County Water District MAR Facility (California; USA) hydrologic tracers; travel time; retention time; radio-sulfur (35S); Atlantis MAR Facility (South Africa); Orange County Water District MAR Facility (California; USA)
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Clark, J.F.; Urióstegui, S.H.; Bibby, R.K.; Esser, B.K.; Tredoux, G. Quantifying Apparent Groundwater Ages near Managed Aquifer Recharge Operations Using Radio-Sulfur (35S) as an Intrinsic Tracer. Water 2016, 8, 474.

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