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Article

Assessing Natural Background Levels in the Groundwater Bodies of the Apulia Region (Southern Italy)

1
Water Research Institute, National Research Council (IRSA-CNR), 70132 Bari, Italy
2
Water Research Institute, National Research Council (IRSA-CNR), Monterotondo, 00015 Rome, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Frédéric Huneau
Water 2021, 13(7), 958; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13070958
Received: 5 March 2021 / Revised: 26 March 2021 / Accepted: 29 March 2021 / Published: 31 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Background Levels in Groundwater)
Defining natural background levels (NBL) of geochemical parameters in groundwater is a key element for establishing threshold values and assessing the environmental state of groundwater bodies (GWBs). In the Apulia region (Italy), carbonate sequences and clastic sediments host the 29 regional GWBs. In this study, we applied the Italian guidelines for the assessment of the NBLs, implementing the EU Water Framework Directive, in a south-European region characterized by the typical Mediterranean climatic and hydrologic features. Inorganic compounds were analyzed at GWB scale using groundwater quality data measured half-yearly from 1995 to 2018 in the regional groundwater monitoring network (341 wells and 20 springs). Nitrates, chloride, sulfate, boron, iron, manganese and sporadically fluorides, boron, selenium, arsenic, exceed the national standards, likely due to salt contamination along the coast, agricultural practices or natural reasons. Monitoring sites impacted by evident anthropic activities were excluded from the dataset prior to NBL calculation using a web-based software tool implemented to automate the procedure. The NBLs resulted larger than the law limits for iron, manganese, chlorides, and sulfates. This methodology is suitable to be applied in Mediterranean coastal areas with high anthropic impact and overexploitation of groundwater for agricultural needs. The NBL definition can be considered one of the pillars for sustainable and long-term groundwater management by tracing a clear boundary between natural and anthropic impacts. View Full-Text
Keywords: groundwater; natural background levels; Italian guidelines; pre-selection method groundwater; natural background levels; Italian guidelines; pre-selection method
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MDPI and ACS Style

Masciale, R.; Amalfitano, S.; Frollini, E.; Ghergo, S.; Melita, M.; Parrone, D.; Preziosi, E.; Vurro, M.; Zoppini, A.; Passarella, G. Assessing Natural Background Levels in the Groundwater Bodies of the Apulia Region (Southern Italy). Water 2021, 13, 958. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13070958

AMA Style

Masciale R, Amalfitano S, Frollini E, Ghergo S, Melita M, Parrone D, Preziosi E, Vurro M, Zoppini A, Passarella G. Assessing Natural Background Levels in the Groundwater Bodies of the Apulia Region (Southern Italy). Water. 2021; 13(7):958. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13070958

Chicago/Turabian Style

Masciale, Rita, Stefano Amalfitano, Eleonora Frollini, Stefano Ghergo, Marco Melita, Daniele Parrone, Elisabetta Preziosi, Michele Vurro, Annamaria Zoppini, and Giuseppe Passarella. 2021. "Assessing Natural Background Levels in the Groundwater Bodies of the Apulia Region (Southern Italy)" Water 13, no. 7: 958. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13070958

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