Special Issue "Groundwater Quality and Groundwater Vulnerability Assessment"

A special issue of Environments (ISSN 2076-3298).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Konstantinos Voudouris
Website
Guest Editor
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Interests: Aquifer Vulnerability, Groundwater management, Water quality, Simulation of water flow, Water supply technologies
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Nerantzis Kazakis
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
Interests: groundwater modelling; groundwater vulnerability assessment; hydrogeochemistry; hydrogeophysics; isotope hydrology; management of aquifer recharge; water resources management; floods; climate change impacts on water resources

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Groundwater resources are under intense anthropogenic pressures and constant threat of pollution. Human activities, such as agriculture, urbanization and industry, have caused irreversible degradation of groundwater quality; therefore, prevention is the most appropriate strategy in the fight against groundwater pollution. Vulnerability and pollution risk maps of groundwater constitute important tools for groundwater management and protection. Groundwater vulnerability is divided into specific vulnerability and intrinsic vulnerability. Intrinsic vulnerability of an aquifer can be defined as the ease with which a contaminant introduced onto the ground surface can reach and diffuse in groundwater. Specific vulnerability is used to define the vulnerability of groundwater to particular contaminants or a group of contaminants by taking into account the contaminants’ physicochemical properties and their relationships. Groundwater pollution risk can be defined as the process of estimating the possibility that a particular event may occur under a given set of circumstances and the assessment is achieved by overlaying hazard and vulnerability.

This Special Issue will focus on exploring application of groundwater vulnerability and pollution risk assessment in porous, karst and fissured rock aquifers located in coastal and inland zones. We invite the interested hydrogeologists and other researchers from the related fields to contribute high-quality original research as well as review articles in the stated issue.

Prof. Dr. Konstantinos Voudouris
Dr. Kazakis Nerantzis
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Environments is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Intrinsic and Specific Vulnerability
  • Pollution risk
  • Coastal Aquifers
  • Karst and Fissured rock aquifers
  • GIS environment
  • Water quality indices
  • Statistical analysis
  • Simulation models

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Hydrogeological and Hydrochemical Regime Evaluation in Flamouria Basin in Edessa (Northern Greece)
Environments 2020, 7(12), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7120105 - 03 Dec 2020
Abstract
Groundwater quality deterioration and overexploitation constitute two critical environmental issues worldwide. In this study, with the aim to achieve a groundwater sustainability purpose, a preliminary hydrogeochemical survey is conducted in the Flamouria basin, Pella prefecture, Northern Greece using available and collected data. For [...] Read more.
Groundwater quality deterioration and overexploitation constitute two critical environmental issues worldwide. In this study, with the aim to achieve a groundwater sustainability purpose, a preliminary hydrogeochemical survey is conducted in the Flamouria basin, Pella prefecture, Northern Greece using available and collected data. For this purpose, chemical analyses of groundwater, springs, and surface water were collected and analyzed with three electrical resistivity tomographies (ERTs). A Groundwater Quality Index (GQI), along with a nitrate susceptibility assessment is applied within the porous aquifer. The water quality analysis along with GQI application showed excellent water quality for potable and irrigation use however highlighted future issue for irrigation utilization as the high alkalinity and total dissolved solid (TDS)could generate excessive soil salinization. Moreover, the application of a methodology for the identification of “Nitrate Vulnerable Zone” called the Protection from Natural and Anthropogenic sources (PNA) highlighted the natural susceptibility to nitrate pollution of the porous aquifer, especially in the central part of the area where most agricultural activity is localized. The work further confirmed how the proposed elaboration could represent an easy and widely applicable hydrological assessment where there is also limited data available. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Quality and Groundwater Vulnerability Assessment)
Open AccessArticle
Assessment of the Vulnerability to Agricultural Nitrate in Two Highly Diversified Environmental Settings
Environments 2020, 7(10), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100080 - 29 Sep 2020
Abstract
A significant rise of groundwater pollution has been registered worldwide, where nitrate has been recognized as the most widespread pollutant. In this context, the groundwater vulnerability assessment and more specifically the delineation of “Nitrate Vulnerable Zones” represents a reliable cost-effective tool for groundwater [...] Read more.
A significant rise of groundwater pollution has been registered worldwide, where nitrate has been recognized as the most widespread pollutant. In this context, the groundwater vulnerability assessment and more specifically the delineation of “Nitrate Vulnerable Zones” represents a reliable cost-effective tool for groundwater management. In this study, the Agricultural Nitrate Hazard Index (ANHI) method was applied to two case histories in southern Italy: the Lete River catchment and the eastern sector of the Campania Plain. The first area is characterized by agricultural activities and a low anthropic influence while the eastern part of the Campania Plain, around Caserta city, is strongly urbanized and developed on an extensive alluvial plain filled with volcaniclastic deposits. The parametric method applied suggests moderate hazard for the more natural setting highlighting how the intensive crop farming and livestock activities that characterized the area negatively influenced the results. For the eastern part of the Campania Plain, where a strong urbanization and widespread industrial crops are dominant, a low to very low hazard has been identified. The groundwater quality value, in contrast with the methodology results underlines the importance of further risk evaluations based on accurate aquifer characterization. A multiple year assessment based on land use change and climate variation could further highlights the difference between the study areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Quality and Groundwater Vulnerability Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle
A Simple Approach of Groundwater Quality Analysis, Classification, and Mapping in Peshawar, Pakistan
Environments 2019, 6(12), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6120123 - 07 Dec 2019
Abstract
Groundwater is an important source of water for drinking, agriculture, and other household purposes, but high population growth, industrialization, and lack of oversight on environmental policies and implementation have not only degraded the quality but also stressed the quantity of this precious source [...] Read more.
Groundwater is an important source of water for drinking, agriculture, and other household purposes, but high population growth, industrialization, and lack of oversight on environmental policies and implementation have not only degraded the quality but also stressed the quantity of this precious source of water. Many options existed, but this study evaluated, classified, and mapped the quality of groundwater used for potable consumption with a simple approach in an urban area (Peshawar valley) of Pakistan. More than 100 groundwater samples were collected and analyzed for physio-chemical parameters in a laboratory. Hierarchal clustering analysis (HCA) and classification and regression tree (CART) analysis were sequentially applied to produce potential clusters/groups (groundwater quality classes), extract the threshold values of the clusters, classify and map the groundwater quality data into meaningful classes, and identify the most critical parameters in the classification. The HCA produced six distinct potential clusters. We found a high correlation of electrical conductivity with t o t a l   h a r d n e s s ( R 2 =   0.72 ), a l k a l i n i t y ( R 2 =   0.59 ) and c h l o r i d e   ( R 2 =   0.64 ) , and, t o t a l   h a r d n e s s with c h l o r i d e ( R 2 = 0.62), and a l k a l i n i t y ( R 2 = 0.51). The CART analysis conclusively identified the threshold values of the six classes and showed that t o t a l   h a r d n e s s was the most critical parameter in the classification. The majority of the groundwater was either with worse quality or good quality, and only a few areas had the worst groundwater quality. This study presents a simple tool for the classification of groundwater quality based on several aesthetic constituents and can assist decision makers develop and support policies and/or regulations to manage groundwater resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Quality and Groundwater Vulnerability Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle
Groundwater Vulnerability and Risk Assessment in A Karst Aquifer of Greece Using EPIK Method
Environments 2019, 6(11), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6110116 - 31 Oct 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
The aim of this study was the assessment of groundwater vulnerability and pollution risk of the Perivleptos karst aquifer in the northwestern part of Greece. Hence, the EPIK method has been applied within the study area. Additionally, a detailed literature overview has been [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was the assessment of groundwater vulnerability and pollution risk of the Perivleptos karst aquifer in the northwestern part of Greece. Hence, the EPIK method has been applied within the study area. Additionally, a detailed literature overview has been obtained, including the worldwide application of the EPIK method. The hazard map has been developed for the implementation of risk assessment. The resulting vulnerability map was divided into four classes and showed especially high to very high vulnerability. The subsequent hazard assessment has shown mostly low to moderate endangerment for the northern part of the study area, which is mainly covered by forest, while the areas covered by urban and industrial, as well as agricultural land, use primarily show high to very high endangerment. Concluding in the risk map, the study area consists of 13% of very high, 48% of high, 36% of moderate and 4% of low risk of contamination. According to the literature overview, the EPIK method was mostly used in combination with other vulnerability assessment methods, and results have been validated through tracer tests, sensitivity analysis or comparing to other methods. In this study, an additional single parameter sensitivity analysis was obtained for validation of the EPIK parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Quality and Groundwater Vulnerability Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle
An Open Source GIS-Based Application for the Assessment of Groundwater Vulnerability to Pollution
Environments 2019, 6(7), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6070086 - 21 Jul 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Groundwater is a crucial natural resource for regular socio-economic function. Groundwater vulnerability to pollution can be assessed through Geographical Information System (GIS)-based qualitative methods. GIS-based tools, dedicated to the assessment of groundwater vulnerability, usually present several limitations, such as high cost, unavailable code, [...] Read more.
Groundwater is a crucial natural resource for regular socio-economic function. Groundwater vulnerability to pollution can be assessed through Geographical Information System (GIS)-based qualitative methods. GIS-based tools, dedicated to the assessment of groundwater vulnerability, usually present several limitations, such as high cost, unavailable code, and a lack of functionality concerning the flexible application of vulnerability indices and vulnerability map comparison. The objective of this work was to create a new GIS-based open source application for groundwater vulnerability assessment, GVTool, developed using QGIS software, with the capability of creating and comparing groundwater vulnerability maps considering four different methods: DRASTIC, GOD, SINTACS, and Susceptibility Index (SI). This application incorporates features from a previous tool, DRASTIC Model, and new functionalities were included, namely three additional vulnerability assessment methods, map comparative analysis, map statistics, and index interval reclassification and symbology definition. The GVTool functionalities and capabilities are illustrated through a groundwater vulnerability assessment in Serra da Estrela mountain (Central Portugal). GVTool is mostly useful in integrated assessments, helping to verify if the groundwater vulnerability maps are accurate and to decide which is the most suitable method or the combination of methods to express groundwater vulnerability to pollution in a specific area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Quality and Groundwater Vulnerability Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle
Potential Impacts to Wetlands and Water Bodies Due to Mineral Exploration, Pebble Copper-Gold Prospect, Southwest Alaska
Environments 2019, 6(7), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6070084 - 19 Jul 2019
Abstract
There is little information in the literature about the impacts of mineral exploration drilling on natural waters. A copper-gold-molybdenum mining deposit in Alaska was heavily explored until 2012 and partially reclaimed; however, full reclamation of drill sites remained incomplete in 2016. Copper is [...] Read more.
There is little information in the literature about the impacts of mineral exploration drilling on natural waters. A copper-gold-molybdenum mining deposit in Alaska was heavily explored until 2012 and partially reclaimed; however, full reclamation of drill sites remained incomplete in 2016. Copper is sub-lethally toxic to salmon, a highly-valued resource in this area. Of 109 sites inspected, 9 sites had confirmed impacts due to un-reclaimed drill-holes or drill waste disposal practices. At seven sites artesian waters at the drill stem resulted in surface water or sediment elevated in aluminum, iron, copper, or zinc with neutral pH. Copper concentrations at artesian sites were <0.4, 0.7, 2, 7, 15, 76, and 215 µg/L; the latter four exceed water quality criteria. Drilling waste is known to have been disposed of in ponds and unlined sumps. At one of five ponds sampled, copper declined from 51 to 8 µg/L over nine years. At the one sump area with historical data, copper increased from 0.3 to 1.8 µg/L at a downgradient wetland spring over five years. This research identifies contaminant types and sources and can be used to guide future ecotoxicity studies and improve regulatory oversight. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Quality and Groundwater Vulnerability Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle
Documentation of Acidic Mining Exploration Drill Cuttings at the Pebble Copper–Gold Mineral Prospect, Southwest Alaska
Environments 2019, 6(7), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6070078 - 04 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
During exploration drilling of the Pebble copper–gold–molybdenum (Cu–Au–Mo) deposit, drilling wastes were disposed of directly on the landscape or passed through unlined sumps prior to disposal. The ore and host rock are rich in sulfides, which weather to sulfuric acid with consequent metal [...] Read more.
During exploration drilling of the Pebble copper–gold–molybdenum (Cu–Au–Mo) deposit, drilling wastes were disposed of directly on the landscape or passed through unlined sumps prior to disposal. The ore and host rock are rich in sulfides, which weather to sulfuric acid with consequent metal leaching. Oxidized cuttings were visually evident, and confirmed with laboratory and field testing to have a pH of 2.7–4.3. At these sites, Cu and Mo exceeded or were at the high end of the natural background. With one exception, Cu was in the range of 545 mg/kg to 4865 mg/kg. Dead vegetation was observed at all sites with drill cuttings on the surface. Dead vegetation was also observed on sump soil covers, unrelated to drilling waste. Sites where vegetation had not re-established were from four to thirteen years old. The potential impact to surface and groundwater was not determined. Understanding the source and extent of damage from cuttings could lead to better site management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Quality and Groundwater Vulnerability Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Groundwater Vulnerability in the North Aquifer Area of Rhodes Island Using the GALDIT Method and GIS
Environments 2019, 6(5), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6050056 - 24 May 2019
Abstract
Salinization of coastal aquifer systems constitutes a major threat for groundwater. Especially areas with high population density due to increasing tourist activity may face severe problems. In this study, the GALDIT method was applied in the north side of Rhodes Island, Greece, in [...] Read more.
Salinization of coastal aquifer systems constitutes a major threat for groundwater. Especially areas with high population density due to increasing tourist activity may face severe problems. In this study, the GALDIT method was applied in the north side of Rhodes Island, Greece, in order to assess groundwater vulnerability to seawater intrusion. Hydrogeological data were elaborated in geographical information systems (GIS), and appropriate thematic maps were produced. The final vulnerability map was obtained from the combination of the thematic maps using overlying techniques. Based on the application of the GALDIT method, a zone up to 1000 m from the shore is characterized by medium to high vulnerability, while medium vulnerability characterizes the eastern part of the study area. Overexploitation of the aquifer, due to the intense touristic activity in Ialysos area, constitutes the main reason for groundwater salinization due to seawater intrusion in the study area. Consequently, planning of proper groundwater management and systematic monitoring of the groundwater reserves are of the utmost importance in order to solve existing problems and prevent future issues of salinization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Quality and Groundwater Vulnerability Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle
Challenges and Limitations of Karst Aquifer Vulnerability Mapping Based on the PaPRIKa Method—Application to a Large European Karst Aquifer (Fontaine de Vaucluse, France)
Environments 2019, 6(3), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6030039 - 26 Mar 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Aquifer vulnerability maps can improve groundwater management for sustainable anthropogenic development. The latest update of karst aquifer vulnerability mapping is named: the Protection of Aquifers base on Protection, Rock type, Infiltration and KArstification (PaPRIKa). This multi-criteria assessment method is based on a weighting [...] Read more.
Aquifer vulnerability maps can improve groundwater management for sustainable anthropogenic development. The latest update of karst aquifer vulnerability mapping is named: the Protection of Aquifers base on Protection, Rock type, Infiltration and KArstification (PaPRIKa). This multi-criteria assessment method is based on a weighting system whose criteria are selected according to the aquifer under study. In this study, the PaPRIKa method has been applied in the Fontaine de Vaucluse karst aquifer using the novel plugin for Quantum Geographic Information System (QGIS) software. The Fontaine de Vaucluse karst aquifer is the largest European karst hydrosystem with a catchment area that measures approximately 1162 km 2 . Four thematic maps were produced according to the criteria of protection, rock type, infiltration, and karst development. The plugin expedites the weighting system test and generates the final vulnerability map. At a large scale the vulnerability map is globally linked with primary geomorphological units and at the local scale is mostly affected by karst features that drive hydrodynamics. In conclusion, the novel QGIS plugin standardizes the application of the PaPRIKa method, saves time and prevents user omissions. The final vulnerability map provides useful contributions that are most relevant to groundwater managers and decision-makers. We highlight the sensibility of the vulnerability map to the weighting system and validation issues of the vulnerability map are raised. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Quality and Groundwater Vulnerability Assessment)
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