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Open AccessArticle

Environmental Groundwater Vulnerability Assessment in Urban Water Mines (Porto, NW Portugal)

Laboratory of Cartography and Applied Geology (LABCARGA), Geotechnical Engineering Department, School of Engineering (ISEP), Polytechnic of Porto, 4200-072 Porto, Portugal
Centre GeoBioTec (Georesources, Geotechnics, Geomaterials Research Group), University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
Laboratory of Natural Radioactivity, Earth Sciences Department, Faculty of Sciences, University of Coimbra, 3030-790 Coimbra, Portugal
CIIMAR/CIMAR-LA—Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research, University of Porto, 4050-123 Porto, Portugal
CIIMAR/CIMAR-LA, Laboratory of Ecotoxicology and Ecology, University of Porto, 4050-123 Porto, Portugal
ICBAS-Institute of Biomedical Sciences of Abel Salazar, Department of Populations Studies, Laboratory of Ecotoxicology, University of Porto, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal
Department of Geoscience, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada
CERENA, Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon, 1049-001 Lisbon, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Robert Puls and Wilhelm Püttmann
Water 2016, 8(11), 499;
Received: 23 April 2016 / Revised: 18 October 2016 / Accepted: 25 October 2016 / Published: 3 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Monitoring and Remediation)
A multidisciplinary approach was developed to estimate urban groundwater vulnerability to contamination combining hydrogeology, hydrogeochemistry, subterranean hydrogeotechnics, groundwater ecotoxicology and isotope tracers. Paranhos and Salgueiros spring waters in Porto City were used as a case study. Historical and current vulnerability scenarios were compared using hydrogeological GIS-based modelling. Potential contamination sources were mapped around the spring galleries. Most of these were point sources and their potential contamination load was moderate. The ecotoxicological assessment indicated a low acute toxicity potential. Groundwater radionuclides appeared to be mainly controlled by geological factors and biomineralisation. Vulnerability maps suggest that most of the area has a moderate to low vulnerability to contamination. However, some surface sources such as sewage systems cause contamination and contribute to increased vulnerability. This integrated approach was demonstrated to be adequate for a better knowledge of urban hydrogeological processes and their dynamics, and highlighted the importance of a vulnerability assessment in urban areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban groundwater; vulnerability mapping; groundwater ecotoxicology; isotope tracers; NW Portugal urban groundwater; vulnerability mapping; groundwater ecotoxicology; isotope tracers; NW Portugal
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Afonso, M.J.; Freitas, L.; Pereira, A.; Neves, L.; Guimarães, L.; Guilhermino, L.; Mayer, B.; Rocha, F.; Marques, J.M.; Chaminé, H.I. Environmental Groundwater Vulnerability Assessment in Urban Water Mines (Porto, NW Portugal). Water 2016, 8, 499.

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