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Comparison of environmental tracers including organic micropollutants as groundwater exfiltration indicators into a small river of a karstic catchment

Title data

Glaser, Clarissa ; Schwientek, Marc ; Junginger, Tobias ; Gilfedder, Benjamin Silas ; Frei, Sven ; Werneburg, Martina ; Zwiener, Christian ; Zarfl, Christiane:
Comparison of environmental tracers including organic micropollutants as groundwater exfiltration indicators into a small river of a karstic catchment.
In: Hydrological Processes. (September 2020) .
ISSN 1099-1085
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/hyp.13909

Abstract in another language

Understanding of groundwater‐surface water (GW‐SW) interactions is vital for water management in karstic catchments due to its impact on water quality. The objective of this study was to evaluate and compare the applicability of seven environmental tracers to quantify and localize groundwater exfiltration into a small, human impacted karstic river system. Tracers were selected based on their emission source to the surface water either as (1) dissolved, predominantly geogenic compounds (radon‐222, sulfate and electrical conductivity) or (2) anthropogenic compounds (predominantly) originating from wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents (carbamazepine, tramadol, sodium, chloride). Two contrasting sampling approaches were compared (1) assuming steady state flow conditions and (2) considering the travel time of the water parcels (Lagrangian sampling) through the catchment to account for diurnal changes in inflow from the WWTP. Spatial variability of the concentrations of all tracers indicated sections of preferential groundwater inflow. Lagrangian sampling techniques seem highly relevant for capturing dynamic concentration patterns of WWTP‐derived compounds. Contrary to other applied natural or anthropogenic environmental tracers, quantification of GW inflow with the finite element model FINIFLUX, based on observed in‐stream Rn activities, led to plausible fluxes along the investigated river reaches (0.265 m3 s‐ 1) while observations of other natural or anthropogenic environmental tracers produced less plausible water fluxes. Important point sources of groundwater exfiltration can be ascribed to locations where the river crosses geological fault lines. This indicates that commonly applied concepts describing groundwater‐surface water interactions assuming diffuse flow in porous media are difficult to transfer to karstic river systems whereas concepts from fractured aquifers may be more applicable. In general, this study helps selecting the best suited hydrological tracer for GW exfiltration and leads to a better understanding of processes controlling groundwater inflow into karstic river systems.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Chair Hydrology > Chair Hydrology - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Stefan Peiffer
Result of work at the UBT: No
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2020 06:43
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2020 06:43
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/57385