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Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 303; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020303

The Compatibility of Geothermal Power Plants with Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems: The Case of the Cesine Wetland (Southern Italy)

1
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Research Institute for Hydrogeological Protection (CNR-IRPI), Via Amendola 122 I, 70126 Bari, Italy
2
Sezione Autorizzazioni Ambientali Regione Puglia, Via delle Magnolie 6/8, Modugno, 70026 Bari, Italy
3
Sinergeo s.r.l., Contrà del Pozzetto, 4-36100 Vicenza, Italy
4
Centre for Isotopic Research on Cultural and Environmental heritage (CIRCE), Dipartimento di Matematica e Fisica, Università degli Studi della Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, 81100 Caserta, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 November 2017 / Revised: 15 January 2018 / Accepted: 19 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract

The Cesine Wetland, located along the Adriatic coast, was recognized as a Wetland of International Interest and a National Natural Park. Managed by the “World Wide Fund for nature” (WWF), it is considered a groundwater dependent ecosystem which is affected by seawater intrusion. The site was selected to test the environmental compatibility of a low-enthalpy geothermal power plant (closed loop) operating in the aquifer saturated portion with purpose to improving the visitor centre. For this purpose, the long-lasting thermal impact on groundwater was assessed using a multi-methodological approach. The complex aquifer system was carefully studied with geological, hydrogeological and geochemical surveys, including chemical and isotopic laboratory analyses of surface water, groundwater and seawater. The isotopes δ18O, δD, δ11B, and 3H were useful to clarify the recharge contribution, the water mixing and the water age. All information was used to improve the conceptualization of the water system, including aquifers and the boundary conditions for a density driven numerical groundwater model. The purpose was to forecast anthropogenic thermal groundwater variations up to 10 years of plant working before the plant realization and to validate the solution after some working years. All results show the environmental compatibility notwithstanding the peculiar ecological environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: wetland; geothermal plant; groundwater dependent ecosystem; numerical modelling; seawater intrusion; Italy; Apulia wetland; geothermal plant; groundwater dependent ecosystem; numerical modelling; seawater intrusion; Italy; Apulia
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De Giorgio, G.; Chieco, M.; Zuffianò, L.E.; Limoni, P.P.; Sottani, A.; Pedron, R.; Vettorello, L.; Stellato, L.; Di Rienzo, B.; Polemio, M. The Compatibility of Geothermal Power Plants with Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems: The Case of the Cesine Wetland (Southern Italy). Sustainability 2018, 10, 303.

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