Origin, yield and quality of the groundwater flows at high elevation in the Cimino volcano (central Italy) were examined. In this area, groundwater is geogenically contaminated by arsenic and fluoride, yet supplies drinking water for approximately 170,000 inhabitants. The origin of the high-elevation groundwater flows is strictly related to vertical and horizontal variability of the rock types (lava flows, lava domes and ignimbrite) in an area of limited size. In some cases, groundwater circuits are related to perched aquifers above noncontinuous aquitards; in other cases, they are due to flows in the highly fractured dome carapace, limited at the bottom by a low-permeability dome core. The high-elevation groundwater outflow represents about 30% of the total recharge of Cimino’s hydrogeological system, which has been estimated at 9.8 L/s/km2. Bicarbonate alkaline-earth, cold, neutral waters with low salinity, and notably with low arsenic and fluoride content, distinguish the high-elevation groundwaters from those of the basal aquifer. Given the quantity and quality of these resources, approaches in the capture and management of groundwater in this hydrogeological environment should be reconsidered. Appropriate tapping methods such as horizontal drains, could more efficiently capture the high-elevation groundwater resources, as opposed to the waters currently pumped from the basal aquifer which often require dearsenification treatments.
Hydrogeology Journal – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 18, 2018
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