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Estimating Pollutant Residence Time and NO3 Concentrations in the Yucatan Karst Aquifer; Considerations for an Integrated Karst Aquifer Vulnerability Methodology

1
Erasmus Mundus GroundwatCH Master Study Program, Technische Universität Dresden, 01069 Dresden, Germany
2
Research Group “INOWAS”, Department of Hydrosciences, Technische Universität Dresden, 01069 Dresden, Germany
3
Institute for Groundwater Management, Technische Universität Dresden, 01069 Dresden, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(7), 1431; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11071431
Received: 22 June 2019 / Revised: 9 July 2019 / Accepted: 11 July 2019 / Published: 12 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessing Surface and Ground- Water Vulnerability and Pollution Risk)
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Abstract

Karst aquifers are a major source of drinking water with intrinsic features that increase the pollution risk from anthropogenic and natural impacts. In Yucatan, Mexico, groundwater is the sole source of drinking water, also acting as receptor of untreated wastewater due to the low regional coverage of sewer systems. To protect karst groundwater, vulnerability methodologies are widely used. Worldwide, multiple karst vulnerability schemes have been developed and tested; however, none of these consider pollutant residence time or pollutant concentration as core parameters to estimate vulnerability. This work aims to define important considerations regarding the behavior of nitrates (NO3) in a real scenario, to be included in a new integrated vulnerability method. This work has two main objectives: to set up a groundwater model to depict as close as possible the groundwater behavior of the Yucatan karst system, and to introduce a transport model to estimate the behavior of a pollution plume. Model outcomes suggest that pollutants have a short residence time, reaching the coast in the north after 3 years. Well fields are also affected by pollution at variable NO3 concentrations. Results can be further discretized to establish a base and to include these parameters as part of a new integrated groundwater vulnerability approach. View Full-Text
Keywords: karst; vulnerability; residence time; Nitrate pollution; Yucatan; numerical modeling karst; vulnerability; residence time; Nitrate pollution; Yucatan; numerical modeling
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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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Martínez-Salvador, C.; Moreno-Gómez, M.; Liedl, R. Estimating Pollutant Residence Time and NO3 Concentrations in the Yucatan Karst Aquifer; Considerations for an Integrated Karst Aquifer Vulnerability Methodology. Water 2019, 11, 1431.

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