Special Issue "Groundwater Pollution"

A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263). This special issue belongs to the section "Geochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Micòl Mastrocicco

Department of Environmental Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technologies, University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", 81100 Caserta, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +39 0823 274609
Interests: water resources management and protection in the coastal plains, with a focus on water and nitrogen balance at basin scale and salinization processes; characterization and monitoring of dissolved contaminants in aquifers via different assessment methods; implementation of density-dependent groundwater flow models and reactive transport models
Guest Editor
Dr. Nicolò Colombani

Università degli Studi di Ferrara, 44121 Ferrara, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: groundwater modelling; reactive transport; saline aquifers; unsaturated zone transport; heavy metals; groundwater quality

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The aim of this Special Issue of Geosciences is to assess and quantify the state of the art of groundwater pollution related problems in both rural and industrial areas due to anthropogenic activities. The target is to focus on different approaches to improve the conceptual model of groundwater, aquifer matrix and contaminants interactions, using: numerical modelling, GIS spatial analyses, statistical analyses or combined approaches. Often groundwater pollution is not immediately recognized by the people as a compelling issue, since it is not as visible as surface water pollution, nevertheless a large part of the world’s population is directly dependent on groundwater. Thus, usually a long term monitoring plan is needed to assess the fate and transport of pollutants in aquifers. For this reason, numerical modelling tools have been successfully developed and applied to quantify long term processes within the aquifers, or spatial and statistical analyses (employed on large geochemical databases) can be pivotal to unravel the main biogeochemical processes acting in a specific polluted site or watershed.

In detail, the focus of this Special Issue is to convey a limited number of papers, which describe key issues on emerging problems due to groundwater pollution employing numerical modelling, GIS tools, statistical analyses and their conjunctive use to monitor, assess and quantify processes that determine the contaminants fate and transport in groundwater. This Special Issue aims to cover, without being limited to, the following areas:

Solute transport modelling of organic and inorganic pollutants in variably saturated media, spacing from simple advective transport to complex reactive transport modelling;

Monitoring and assessing groundwater pollution using combined geochemical and geophysical techniques in GIS environments and/or statistical analyses (e.g. Principal Component or Factor analysis);

Anthropogenic versus geogenic sources of groundwater pollutants: monitoring heavy metals or trace elements presence using multi-temporal datasets, multi-level sampling techniques and spatial analyses in GIS environments.

Prof. Mastrocicco Micòl
Dr. Colombani Nicolò
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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. Geosciences 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 850 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

  • Contaminant transport modelling
  • Biogeochemical reactions
  • Statistical analyses
  • Aquifer contamination
  • Organic contaminants
  • Inorganic contaminants

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
A Special Issue of Geosciences: Groundwater Pollution
Geosciences 2018, 8(7), 262; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8070262
Received: 10 July 2018 / Accepted: 11 July 2018 / Published: 12 July 2018
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Pollution)

Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Pollution Plume Development in the Primary Aquifer at the Atlantis Historical Solid Waste Disposal Site, South Africa
Geosciences 2018, 8(7), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8070231
Received: 4 May 2018 / Revised: 15 June 2018 / Accepted: 18 June 2018 / Published: 22 June 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (6201 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Pollution)
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Open AccessArticle
Reactive and Mixing Processes Governing Ammonium and Nitrate Coexistence in a Polluted Coastal Aquifer
Geosciences 2018, 8(6), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8060210
Received: 17 April 2018 / Revised: 28 May 2018 / Accepted: 8 June 2018 / Published: 11 June 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2411 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A comprehensive hydrochemical, stable isotope and microbial analyses characterisation has been performed to evaluate the sources of groundwater, nitrogen pollution and degradation processes occurring in an industrial polluted coastal aquifer in the framework of a complex hydrodynamic system. The coexistence of ammonium and [...] Read more.
A comprehensive hydrochemical, stable isotope and microbial analyses characterisation has been performed to evaluate the sources of groundwater, nitrogen pollution and degradation processes occurring in an industrial polluted coastal aquifer in the framework of a complex hydrodynamic system. The coexistence of ammonium and nitrate has been observed in almost all the investigated monitoring wells, reaching maximum values of 100 and 200 mg/L for both species. Chloride and potassium concentration coupled with groundwater stable isotopes data show the influence of local and urban recharge and the occurrence of seawater intrusion in areas near the coastline. δ15N–NH4+ values ranging between −4.9 and +14.9% suggest that different processes such as partial nitrification of ammonium, probably anammox activities and sorption, are occurring at the site. The isotope data for NH4+ also showed the existence of the remnant of an old fertilizer plume in the downgradient area. The nitrate isotope data ranging between +9 and +46% and +6 and +26% for δ15N–NO3 and δ18O–NO3, respectively, suggest that nitrate content is attenuated by denitrification and probably annamox. The fast groundwater flow field is one of the reasons for the coexistence of NH4+ and NO3 in groundwater, since both compounds can penetrate the reducing zone of the aquifer. The influence of leakage of sewage pipelines on the aquifer cannot be discerned due to the complexities of the nitrogen attenuation processes, also influenced by pumping activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Pollution)
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Open AccessArticle
Numerical Modeling of Remediation Scenarios of a Groundwater Cr(VI) Plume in an Alpine Valley Aquifer
Geosciences 2018, 8(6), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8060209
Received: 3 May 2018 / Revised: 6 June 2018 / Accepted: 7 June 2018 / Published: 8 June 2018
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (5631 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This work presents the numerical modeling of remediation scenarios aimed at containing and attenuating the groundwater pollution by Cr(VI) sourced from a steelworks area that affects the Alpine aquifer system in the Aosta Plain (N Italy). Here, groundwater is used for drinking water [...] Read more.
This work presents the numerical modeling of remediation scenarios aimed at containing and attenuating the groundwater pollution by Cr(VI) sourced from a steelworks area that affects the Alpine aquifer system in the Aosta Plain (N Italy). Here, groundwater is used for drinking water supply and food and beverage production, so the adoption of remediation works is urgently needed. More specifically, three remediation scenarios were modeled using MODFLOW-2000 and MT3DMS: (a) the activation of a hydraulic barrier to contain the pollution within the source area (Scenario 1); (b) the removal of the pollution sources and the natural attenuation of the residual groundwater plume (Scenario 2); and (c) a combination of the previous two works (Scenario 3). Model results for Scenario 1 showed that a hydraulic barrier composed of five wells located along the eastern border of the steelworks area would contain Cr(VI) concentrations above 5 µg/L (i.e., the Italian regulatory limit) within the steelworks area; the barrier would have a total discharge of 27,500 m3/day, which could be compensated by the deactivation of three steelworks wells; the hydraulic barrier would drop the Cr(VI) concentrations below 5 µg/L in the areas downstream of the steelworks after ~3 years from its start of operation. Results for Scenario 2 highlighted that the removal of the Cr(VI) sources would drop the Cr(VI) concentrations below 5 µg/L in the areas downstream of the steelworks after ~2.5 years, and lead to a full remediation of the Cr(VI) groundwater plume (i.e., total Cr(VI) mass in the aquifer close to zero) after 17 years. Results for Scenario 3 showed that the removal of the Cr(VI) sources accompanied by the activation of the hydraulic barrier would led to a faster remediation within the first 14 years from the starting of the remediation works, with concentrations below 5 µg/L in the areas downstream of the steelworks obtained after ~2.3 years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Pollution)
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Open AccessArticle
Estimation of Nitrate Trends in the Groundwater of the Zagreb Aquifer
Geosciences 2018, 8(5), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8050159
Received: 27 March 2018 / Revised: 27 April 2018 / Accepted: 28 April 2018 / Published: 2 May 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (10297 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nitrates present one of the main groundwater contaminants in the world and in the Zagreb aquifer. The Zagreb aquifer presents the main source of potable water for the inhabitants of the City of Zagreb and it is protected by the Republic of Croatia. [...] Read more.
Nitrates present one of the main groundwater contaminants in the world and in the Zagreb aquifer. The Zagreb aquifer presents the main source of potable water for the inhabitants of the City of Zagreb and it is protected by the Republic of Croatia. The determination of contaminants trends presents one of the main tools in groundwater body status and risk assessment. In this paper, the use of regression analysis on the aggregated data, together with confidence and prediction intervals, at different observation scales has been evaluated. Nitrate concentrations are generally decreasing in almost all areas, observed at different observation scales. It has been shown that linear regression can be efficiently used in the estimation of nitrates trends. Results showed that the calculation of confidence and prediction intervals can provide more useful conclusions than the calculation of the trend’s statistical significance. Also, the results suggest that confidence and prediction intervals can be used in groundwater body chemical status and risk assessment, respectively. Data smoothing and data aggregation are generally desirable, but have certain limitations. If too much data is aggregated, trend estimation by regression analysis can point to false conclusions. Evaluation of trends at different observational scales can provide more realistic trend estimation, as well as more precise identification of areas where groundwater protection measures should be implemented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Pollution)
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Open AccessArticle
Reliable Predictors of Arsenic Occurrence in the Southern Gulf Coast Aquifer of Texas
Geosciences 2018, 8(5), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8050155
Received: 14 April 2018 / Revised: 24 April 2018 / Accepted: 25 April 2018 / Published: 27 April 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1648 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Arsenic contamination of groundwater in the Southern Gulf Coast Aquifer of Texas is a critical public health concern as much of the area is rural in nature with decentralized water supplies. Previous studies have pointed to volcanic deposits as the regional source of [...] Read more.
Arsenic contamination of groundwater in the Southern Gulf Coast Aquifer of Texas is a critical public health concern as much of the area is rural in nature with decentralized water supplies. Previous studies have pointed to volcanic deposits as the regional source of arsenic but no definitive or reliable predictors of arsenic maximum contaminant level (MCL) exceedance have been identified. In this study, we have studied the effect of various hydrogeochemical parameters as well as soil and land-use variables on arsenic MCL exceedance using logistic regression (LR) techniques. The LR models display good accuracy of 75% or higher but suffer from a high rate of false negatives, highlighting the challenges in capturing the spatial irregularities of arsenic in this region. Despite not displaying high statistical significance, pH appears to be an important variable in the LR models—its effect on arsenic exceedance is not clear and warrants further investigation. The results of the study also show that groundwater vanadium and fluoride are consistently the only significant variables in the models developed; the positive coefficients for both these elements indicates a common geogenic source for arsenic, fluoride and vanadium, corroborating the findings of earlier studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Pollution)
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Open AccessArticle
Preventing Groundwater Pollution Using Vulnerability and Risk Mapping: The Case of the Florina Basin, NW Greece
Geosciences 2018, 8(4), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8040129
Received: 20 March 2018 / Revised: 3 April 2018 / Accepted: 4 April 2018 / Published: 8 April 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4172 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The alluvial aquifer system of the Florina basin (320 km2) in North Greece is a representative area where irrigated agriculture is applied. Groundwater is the main source of water. The highest and mean nitrate concentrations in groundwater are 67.9 mg/L and [...] Read more.
The alluvial aquifer system of the Florina basin (320 km2) in North Greece is a representative area where irrigated agriculture is applied. Groundwater is the main source of water. The highest and mean nitrate concentrations in groundwater are 67.9 mg/L and 25 mg/L, respectively. High values could be associated with the use of nitrogen fertilizers from agricultural activities. This study deals with the evaluation of the groundwater quality. For this reason, hydrochemical analyses from 29 groundwater samples and water level measurements were performed for the wet and dry periods of 2016. The suitability of groundwater quality for irrigation purposes is examined by using different indices (Chlorinity Index, SAR, Sodium Percentage, Potential Salinity and Kelly’s index). In addition, the DRASTIC method was modified by using statistical methods, land use map and nitrate concentrations and applied in order to assess the groundwater vulnerability to external pollution. Notably, there was no correlation between the standard DRASTIC method and nitrate concentrations. However, the modified version and the obtained risk map showed high correlation with nitrate concentrations (ρ = 0.55) and the Groundwater Quality; hence, it is suggested as the base for a protection plan of the alluvial aquifer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Pollution)
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