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Open AccessArticle

Deriving Natural Background Levels of Arsenic at the Meso-Scale Using Site-Specific Datasets: An Unorthodox Method

1
Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, Piazza di Porta S. Donato, 1, 40126 Bologna, Italy
2
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, Piazza della Scienza 1, 20126 Milan, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Fernando António Leal Pacheco
Water 2021, 13(4), 452; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040452
Received: 13 January 2021 / Revised: 5 February 2021 / Accepted: 5 February 2021 / Published: 9 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Background Levels in Groundwater)
Arsenic is found in groundwater above regulatory limits in many countries and its origin is often from natural sources, making the definition of Natural Background Levels (NBLs) crucial. NBL is commonly assessed based on either dedicated small-scale monitoring campaigns or large-scale national/regional groundwater monitoring networks that may not grab local-scale heterogeneities. An alternative method is represented by site-specific monitoring networks in contaminated/polluted sites under remediation. As a main drawback, groundwater quality at these sites is affected by human activities. This paper explores the potential for groundwater data from an assemblage of site-specific datasets of contaminated/polluted sites to define NBLs of arsenic (As) at the meso-scale (order of 1000 km2). Common procedures for the assessment of human influence cannot be applied to this type of dataset due to limited data homogeneity. Thus, an “unorthodox” method is applied involving the definition of a consistent working dataset followed by a statistical identification and critical analysis of the outliers. The study was conducted in a highly anthropized area (Ferrara, N Italy), where As concentrations often exceed national threshold limits in a shallow aquifer. The results show that site-specific datasets, if properly pre-treated, are an effective alternative for the derivation of NBLs when regional monitoring networks fail to catch local-scale variability. View Full-Text
Keywords: natural background levels; arsenic; groundwater quality; sites under remediation; site-specific data; Ferrara natural background levels; arsenic; groundwater quality; sites under remediation; site-specific data; Ferrara
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MDPI and ACS Style

Filippini, M.; Zanotti, C.; Bonomi, T.; Sacchetti, V.G.; Amorosi, A.; Dinelli, E.; Rotiroti, M. Deriving Natural Background Levels of Arsenic at the Meso-Scale Using Site-Specific Datasets: An Unorthodox Method. Water 2021, 13, 452. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040452

AMA Style

Filippini M, Zanotti C, Bonomi T, Sacchetti VG, Amorosi A, Dinelli E, Rotiroti M. Deriving Natural Background Levels of Arsenic at the Meso-Scale Using Site-Specific Datasets: An Unorthodox Method. Water. 2021; 13(4):452. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040452

Chicago/Turabian Style

Filippini, Maria; Zanotti, Chiara; Bonomi, Tullia; Sacchetti, Vito G.; Amorosi, Alessandro; Dinelli, Enrico; Rotiroti, Marco. 2021. "Deriving Natural Background Levels of Arsenic at the Meso-Scale Using Site-Specific Datasets: An Unorthodox Method" Water 13, no. 4: 452. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040452

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