Special Issue "Groundwater Vulnerability to Pollution Assessment"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Hydrogeology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 March 2022) | Viewed by 7798

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Francesco Sdao
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Engineering, University of Basilicata, Campus Macchia Romana, Potenza (Italy)
Interests: engineering geology; landslide hazard and risk assessment; artificial intelligence models; applied hydrogeology; cultural heritages and natural risk; applied geomorphology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Filomena Canora
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Engineering, University of Basilicata, Campus Macchia Romana, Potenza (Italy)
Interests: engineering geology; applied hydrogeology; landslide hazard and risk assessment; artificial intelligence models; applied geomorphology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to invite you to participate in this Special Issue, which will focus primarily on the study and the application of the Groundwater Vulnerability and Risk to Pollution assessment and mapping.

Coastal and inland porous, karst and fissured carbonate rock aquifers are threatened by the groundwater pollution of intense anthropogenic activities. Agriculture, industry and urbanization result to be the human pressures, responsible for the evident change in the groundwater quality. This trend is expected to continue in the future, due to increased unplanned of the anthropogenic activities and water exploitation also under the climatic change impacts. The assessement and mapping of the aquifer vulnerability to pollution and related risk has been recognized from the scientific community as the most significant prevention tools for groundwater protection and management strategies.

In the last decades, the aquifer vulnerability and risk to pollution has been assess using several different methods and techniques based on parametric methods, fuzzy logic algorithms, multi criteria decision-making models, statistical analysis and simulation modelling.

This special issue aims to collect original contributions related to the application of the various methods and models for Groundwater Vulnerability to pollution assessment related to the Groundwater quality, the prevention of the Pollution risk, the Sustainable groundwater management and the Climate change effects.

Prof. Dr. Francesco Sdao
Dr. Filomena Canora
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 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

  • Groundwater vulnerability
  • Groundwater quality
  • Parametric methods
  • Statistical analysis
  • Simulation models
  • Pollution risk
  • Sustainable groundwater management
  • Climate change

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Groundwater Vulnerability to Pollution Assessment
Water 2022, 14(14), 2205; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14142205 - 12 Jul 2022
Viewed by 482
Abstract
Water scarcity and pollution have arisen as global issues in the twenty-first century [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Vulnerability to Pollution Assessment)

Research

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Article
Groundwater Vulnerability Assessment in the Metaponto Coastal Plain (Basilicata, Italy)
Water 2022, 14(12), 1851; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14121851 - 09 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 709
Abstract
This study aims at a groundwater vulnerability assessment of the Metaponto coastal plain, located in the Basilicata region (southern Italy). In the last century, intensive agriculture, zootechnical and industrial activities have significantly changed the plain. These changes led to negative impacts on the [...] Read more.
This study aims at a groundwater vulnerability assessment of the Metaponto coastal plain, located in the Basilicata region (southern Italy). In the last century, intensive agriculture, zootechnical and industrial activities have significantly changed the plain. These changes led to negative impacts on the hydrogeological system intensifying the risk of the aquifer to pollution. The paper presents the assessment of the intrinsic vulnerability of the coastal aquifer carried out by the GIS-based application of the SINTACS method. It considers several aquifer parameters such as water table depth, effective infiltration, unsaturated conditions, soil media, aquifer media, hydraulic conductivity and topography. Furthermore, the anthropogenic influence in the study area was considered by applying the SINTACS-LU method, in which the parameter of land use (LU) was added. The SINTACS and SINTACS-LU vulnerability indexes were provided by summing the product of ratings and weights assigned to each parameter. The analysis of the intrinsic vulnerability map allowed for determining three classes ranging from low to high vulnerability. In both cases, the southeastern part of the coastal plain, closest to the sea, shows the highest vulnerability class, indicating that it is the most vulnerable to contamination due to the hydrogeological intrinsic factors. The wide central part of the study area shows a moderate class of vulnerability and the low class is scattered in small parts in the northern portion of the plain, which represents the areas less contaminable in space and time in the case of potential pollution. In the SINTACS-LU map, some areas classified as highly vulnerable in the SINTACS method show a minor vulnerability class. These areas are localized in natural and wooded sectors of the Metaponto plain, which are less populated, where human impact on the groundwater is minimal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Vulnerability to Pollution Assessment)
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Article
Assessment of Groundwater Contamination Risk in Oilfield Drilling Sites Based on Groundwater Vulnerability, Pollution Source Hazard, and Groundwater Value Function in Yitong County
Water 2022, 14(4), 628; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14040628 - 18 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 440
Abstract
Oilfield drilling sites are the potential dispersive pollution source of groundwater, especially to shallow groundwater. The pollution risk assessment in these areas is an important reference for effective groundwater management and protection. The vulnerability assessment alone is not sufficient for groundwater contamination risk [...] Read more.
Oilfield drilling sites are the potential dispersive pollution source of groundwater, especially to shallow groundwater. The pollution risk assessment in these areas is an important reference for effective groundwater management and protection. The vulnerability assessment alone is not sufficient for groundwater contamination risk assessment. In this study, we developed a comprehensive groundwater pollution risk assessment method for oilfield drilling sites that combine groundwater vulnerability, pollution source hazard, and groundwater value function to produce a more comprehensive result. Consider the oilfield drilling area in Yitong County of Jilin Province, China, as an example. Thematic maps of the three aspects (groundwater vulnerability, pollution source hazard, and groundwater value function) were generated in ArcGIS environment to assess the contamination risk of groundwater in quaternary pore unconfined aquifer. The results show that 9.92% of the study area is characterized as being at high risk. These areas are mainly distributed around the center position of the oil drilling site, floodplains, and the reservoir. The moderate risk area accounts for 21.04% of the total area. It is distributed in the first-level terrace, mainly because of the high function value of groundwater. The remaining 69.04% of the study area is characterized as none and mild risk, mainly distributed in the valleys and terraces. This integrated groundwater contamination risk assessment method is suited for comparative assessment of multiple-point sources of contamination at a regional scale. Finally, the groundwater contamination risk grade distributed in this area provides a reference for effective protection and sustainable supply of groundwater in the oilfield drilling area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Vulnerability to Pollution Assessment)
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Article
Spatial Analysis of the Chemical Regime of Groundwater in the Karatal Irrigation Massif in South-Eastern Kazakhstan
Water 2022, 14(3), 285; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14030285 - 19 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 410
Abstract
Understanding the groundwater chemical regime on irrigated lands is relevant for assessing hydrogeological and reclamation processes. Water chemistry, natural and climatic conditions, and drainage characteristics define the complex hydrochemical connections which are formed between irrigation waters, soil, and water of the unsaturated zone [...] Read more.
Understanding the groundwater chemical regime on irrigated lands is relevant for assessing hydrogeological and reclamation processes. Water chemistry, natural and climatic conditions, and drainage characteristics define the complex hydrochemical connections which are formed between irrigation waters, soil, and water of the unsaturated zone and groundwater. This research paper presents the results of studies of seasonal changes in the chemical composition of groundwater in the Karatal irrigated massif. A detailed analysis of the salt regime and chemical composition of groundwater have been performed based on a large number of samples for 2019. Besides, data related to the Karatal River and drainage waters quality inside the basin have also been analyzed. Results demonstrate that the salinization processes in the massif are determined by hydrogeological conditions and drainage availability. In the north-eastern part of the massif, a high risk of soil salinization has been observed as a consequence of all the salinization processes which are determined by its hydrogeological conditions and drainage availability. Data analysis over soil samples and irrigation and drainage waters show that the hydrochemical regime of groundwater on Karatal irrigation massif is influenced by the presence of saline soil-forming rocks, the groundwater depth, the volume, and the quality of irrigation waters, the characteristics of the natural drainage, and evaporation processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Vulnerability to Pollution Assessment)
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Article
Groundwater Nitrate Pollution Sources Assessment for Contaminated Wellfield
Water 2022, 14(2), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14020255 - 16 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 627
Abstract
Nitrates are one of the most common groundwater contaminants and they come from different sources. The paper presents a study of groundwater quality at Varaždin wellfield in the north part of Croatia. The nitrate concentration at this location has been above the maximum [...] Read more.
Nitrates are one of the most common groundwater contaminants and they come from different sources. The paper presents a study of groundwater quality at Varaždin wellfield in the north part of Croatia. The nitrate concentration at this location has been above the maximum allowed concentration for several decades, which has made the opening of new wellfields costly. Based on the previously developed groundwater flow model, a model that covers the narrow area of the wellfield is developed. The influential zone of the observed wellfield in working conditions is determined. Based on the developed model, the sources of nitrate pollution are located, which can be generally divided into non-point and point sources. Considering the time of groundwater retention in the horizontal flow, it is concluded that the water protection zones are marked following the applicable ordinance. Based on the developed groundwater flow model at the observed wellfield, a simulation of nitrate pollution propagation by advection and dispersion processes is performed. The simulation results point out the location of the poultry landfill as the largest source of nitrate pollution. However, poultry farms, which are located in the influence area of the wellfield, also contribute significantly to the nitrate concentration at the wellfield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Vulnerability to Pollution Assessment)
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Article
A Modified AVI Model for Groundwater Vulnerability Mapping: Case Studies in Southern Italy
Water 2022, 14(2), 248; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14020248 - 15 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 537
Abstract
Many methods for evaluating the aquifer’s vulnerability to pollution have been developed in the past four decades by using geographic information system (GIS) tools. However, even if the aquifer vulnerability concept is well defined and the methods have been constantly tested and compared, [...] Read more.
Many methods for evaluating the aquifer’s vulnerability to pollution have been developed in the past four decades by using geographic information system (GIS) tools. However, even if the aquifer vulnerability concept is well defined and the methods have been constantly tested and compared, the problem of the choice of the best “standard” method remains. To meet these objectives, aquifer vulnerability maps are of crucial importance. The choice of method depends on several factors, including the scale of the project, the hydrogeological characteristics of the area, and data availability. Among the many methods, the AVI (Aquifer Vulnerability Index) method has been widely used as it considers only two physical parameters. The AVI Index represents the hydraulic resistance of an aquifer to vertical flow, as a ratio between the thickness of each sedimentary unit above the uppermost aquifer (D, length), and the estimated hydraulic conductivity (K, length/time) of each of these layers. The AVI Index has a time dimension and is divided into five classes. In order to avoid a widespread presence of the higher vulnerability classes, especially in shallow aquifers, the AVI classification has been modified using statistical methods. The study reports the application of the modified AVI method for groundwater pollution vulnerability, in three different areas of southern Italy, highlighting the limitations of the method in alluvial aquifers and the differences with other methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Vulnerability to Pollution Assessment)
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Article
Environmental Hazards of an Unrecultivated Liquid Waste Disposal Site on Soil and Groundwater
Water 2022, 14(2), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14020226 - 13 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 558
Abstract
Disposal sites without adequate engineering controls pose a significant risk to the environment. In the present study, the environmental hazards of an abandoned and unrecultivated liquid waste disposal are investigated with a special focus on soil and shallow groundwater contamination. After a period [...] Read more.
Disposal sites without adequate engineering controls pose a significant risk to the environment. In the present study, the environmental hazards of an abandoned and unrecultivated liquid waste disposal are investigated with a special focus on soil and shallow groundwater contamination. After a period of operation from 1994 to 2010, when the wastewater collection of the municipality was regulated, the disposal site was subsequently decommissioned without further action. Eight monitoring wells have been established in the disposal basins and in the surrounding area to determine the contamination of the site. Sampling took place in the summers of 2020 and 2021. The results of the analysis of the soil and water samples collected showed a high level of contamination in the area. In the borehole profile of the infiltration basin, a well-developed leachate nitrate profile was observed, with a concentration above 3000 mg/kg NO3. The soil phosphate content was also significant, with a value of over 1900 mg/kg in the upper 40 cm layer. Extremely high concentrations of ammonium (>45 mg/L) and organic matter (>90 mg/L) were detected in the groundwater of the basins, indicating that contaminated soil remains a major source of pollutants more than 10 years after closure. For all micro- and macroelements present in detectable concentrations, a significant increase was observed in the infiltration basin. Our results have revealed that the surroundings are also heavily contaminated. NO3 concentrations above the contamination limit were measured outside the basins. Recultivation of liquid waste disposal sites of similar characteristics is therefore strongly recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Vulnerability to Pollution Assessment)
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Article
Preliminary Evaluation of the Possible Occurrence of Pesticides in Groundwater Contaminated with Nitrates—A Case Study from Southern Poland
Water 2021, 13(21), 3091; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13213091 - 03 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 602
Abstract
This paper addresses groundwater pollution and the potential presence of pesticides within the catchment areas of two reservoirs that are sources of drinking water. The two reservoirs are Goczałkowice and Kozłowa Góra, both in Southern Poland. Agricultural and rural areas dominate both catchments. [...] Read more.
This paper addresses groundwater pollution and the potential presence of pesticides within the catchment areas of two reservoirs that are sources of drinking water. The two reservoirs are Goczałkowice and Kozłowa Góra, both in Southern Poland. Agricultural and rural areas dominate both catchments. Archival data showed local groundwater contamination with nitrates. This indicated the possible presence of pesticides in shallow groundwater. In total, 13 groundwater samples from shallow sandy aquifers were collected. All the samples were tested for the presence of 35 organophosphate pesticides and 28 organochlorine pesticides. Additionally, in order to determine the current groundwater conditions, physicochemical parameters were measured in the field, and water samples were subjected to analysis of their chemical composition (incl. the determination of nitrates). The research outcomes showed that pesticides were not detected above the detection limits in any of the samples. Due to variations in the persistence and degradation rates of pesticides, the occurrence of these substances in the groundwater environment and the possibility of their migration to aquifers should not be completely excluded. Natural processes and factors (e.g., sorption, biodegradation, hydrolysis and redox conditions) may gradually reduce the pesticide concentrations in groundwater. The chemical analyses revealed high concentrations of nitrates in the groundwater. This suggests the possible influence of agriculture and fertilizer application on groundwater quality; however, a proportion of NO3- ions may be connected with improper sewage management within the two catchments. The absence of pesticides in groundwater impacted by agriculture may result from processes occurring in the aquifer and the rapid degradation of these compounds due to photolysis and prevailing weather conditions. In the vicinity of dwellings, nitrates also originate from domestic wastewater. Thus, the occurrence of pesticides in groundwater contaminated with NO3 cannot always be expected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Vulnerability to Pollution Assessment)
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Article
Vulnerability Assessment as a Basis for Sanitary Zone Delineation of Karst Groundwater Sources—Blederija Spring Case Study
Water 2021, 13(19), 2775; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13192775 - 06 Oct 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 480
Abstract
The application of groundwater vulnerability methods has great importance for the sanitary protection zones delineation of karstic sources. Source vulnerability assessment of karst groundwater has mainly relied on the European approach (European Cooperation in Science and Technology—COST action 620), which includes analysis of [...] Read more.
The application of groundwater vulnerability methods has great importance for the sanitary protection zones delineation of karstic sources. Source vulnerability assessment of karst groundwater has mainly relied on the European approach (European Cooperation in Science and Technology—COST action 620), which includes analysis of the K factor, which refers to water flow through the saturated zone of the karst system. In the paper, two approaches to groundwater vulnerability assessment have been applied, COP + K and TDM (Time-Dependent Model) methods, to produce the most suitable source vulnerability map that can be transformed into sanitary protection zones maps. Both methods were tested on the case example of Blederija karst spring in Eastern Serbia. This spring represents a classical karst spring with allogenic and autogenic recharge. Dual aquifer recharge points out the necessity for the inclusion of the vulnerability assessment method created especially for the assessment of karst groundwater. Obtained vulnerability maps show similar results, particularly in the spring and the ponor areas, and these zones are most important for future protection. The COP + K method brings out three vulnerability classes that can be directly transformed into three sanitary protection zones. Contrary to the previous one, the TDM method uses water travel time as a vulnerability degree. The results show that the final map can be easily used to define sanitary zones considering different national legislation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Vulnerability to Pollution Assessment)
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Article
‘Hidden Hot Springs’ as a Source of Groundwater Fluoride and Severe Dental Fluorosis in Malawi
Water 2021, 13(8), 1106; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13081106 - 17 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2031
Abstract
Hidden hot springs likely impact rural water supplies in Malawi’s Rift Valley with excess dissolved fluoride leading to localised endemic severe dental fluorosis. Predicting their occurrence is a challenge; Malawi’s groundwater data archive is sporadic and incomplete which prevents the application of standard [...] Read more.
Hidden hot springs likely impact rural water supplies in Malawi’s Rift Valley with excess dissolved fluoride leading to localised endemic severe dental fluorosis. Predicting their occurrence is a challenge; Malawi’s groundwater data archive is sporadic and incomplete which prevents the application of standard modelling techniques. A creative alternative method to predict hidden hot spring locations was developed using a synthesis of proxy indicators (geological, geochemical, dental) and is shown to be at least 75% effective. An exciting collaboration between geoscientists and dentists allowed corroboration of severe dental fluorosis with hydrogeological vulnerability. Thirteen hidden hot springs were identified based on synthesised proxy indicators. A vulnerability prediction map for the region was developed and is the first of its kind in Malawi. It allows improved groundwater fluoride prediction in Malawi’s rift basin which hosts the majority of hot springs. Moreover, it allows dentists to recognise geological control over community oral health. Collaborative efforts have proven mutually beneficial, allowing both disciplines to conduct targeted research to improve community wellbeing and health and inform policy development in their respective areas. This work contributes globally in developing nations where incomplete groundwater data and vulnerability to groundwater contamination from hydrothermal fluoride exist in tandem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Vulnerability to Pollution Assessment)
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