The monitoring of pollution plumes from municipal landfills is essential in order to control and, where necessary, remediate aquifer contamination. The Atlantis historical landfill was established in 1975 and was unlined as it preceded the promulgation of the Minimum Requirements by the Department of Water and Sanitation. As the underlying, unconfined sandy aquifer serves as a water supply source to the town of Atlantis, regular quarterly hydrochemical monitoring was carried out from 1989 to 1997, at irregular intervals until 2003, and resumed in 2015 when new, deep boreholes were drilled. Groundwater monitoring over nearly three decades provided valuable information on the nature of the chemical reactions that take place in the subsurface and the extent of transport of chemical constituents. Ammonium and organic carbon, which are subject to redox reactions, were lagging compared to chloride and sodium, which are transported advectively. The most recent data indicated the plume consisted mainly of salinity (electrical conductivity (EC) > 200 mS m−1
) in the form of sodium, calcium, chloride and bicarbonate ions 350–400 m down-gradient of the landfill, and it is still expanding at a maximum rate of about 25 m a−1
, with local deviations from the regional flow pattern. It also became evident that the plume migrated to greater depth as it was transported further from the waste pile. The breakthrough of contaminants being observed at different depths highlights the importance of suitably designed monitoring networks.
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