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Efficacy and Challenges of Using Springs for Early Detection of Contaminant Release from Waste Disposal Facilities Constructed in Karst Terranes

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Document pages: 19 pages

Abstract: Early detection of groundwater contamination from waste disposal facilities is challenging in karst terranes. First, one needs to demonstrate that the groundwater system at the study site is monitorable. Both springs and wells are potential monitoring locations if they are effectively connected to the groundwater system, and they are not impacted by any other disposal facilities. Second, due to dynamic responses to recharge events, particularly discharge and chemical constituents at karst springs, multiple-parameter, long-term, and high-frequency monitoring may be required to collect background data. Sampling and analysis plans should be designed to reflect the unique characteristics of the monitoring locations. Characterization of the natural variations in water quality may require sampling efforts under different flow conditions. Third, evaluation of the potential impact of waste disposal units on the groundwater system requires an effective statistical evaluation program. Due to heterogeneity of karst aquifers, intra-locational comparison is generally preferred to inter-locational comparison. Sufficient groundwater monitoring data prior to construction of waste disposal units are required to develop the intra-locational statistical evaluation. In the case study presented in this paper, procedures to address these above-mentioned challenges were presented for two springs using seven dye tracing tests, two spring instrumentations, nine background sampling, flow-weighted concentrations, and an innovative statistical evaluation method were presented. These procedures were developed to evaluate potential contaminant release from a solid waste disposal facility constructed in a relatively isolated karst terrane. Although the specific procedures may not be duplicated, the overall technical approaches discussed in the paper may shed light on groundwater monitoring programs in other karst areas.

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