Isotopic constraints on water source mixing, network leakage and contamination in an urban groundwater system

Grimmeisen, F. and Lehmann, M. F. and Liesch, T. and Goeppert, N. and Klinger, J. and Zopfi, J. and Goldscheider, N.. (2017) Isotopic constraints on water source mixing, network leakage and contamination in an urban groundwater system. Science of the Total Environment, 583. pp. 202-213.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/57957/

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Water supply in developing countries is prone to large water losses due to leaky distribution networks and defective sewers, which may affect groundwater quality and quantity in urban areas and result in complex subsurface mixing dynamics. In this study, a multi-stable isotope approach was used to investigate spatiotemporal fluctuations of surface and sub-surface water source partitioning and mixing, and to assess nitrogen (N) contamination in the urban water cycle of As-Salt, Jordan. Water import from the King Abdullah Canal (KAC), mains waters from the network, and wastewater are characterized by distinct isotopic signatures, which allowed us to quantify city effluents into the groundwater. Temporal variations in isotopic signatures of polluted groundwater are explained by seasonally fluctuating inflow, and dilution by water that originates from Lake Tiberias and enters the urban water cycle via the KAC. Isotopic analysis (N and O) and comparison between groundwater nitrate and nitrate from mains water, water imports and wastewater confirmed that septic waste from leaky sewers is the main contributor of nitrate contamination. The nitrate of strongly contaminated groundwater was characterized by highest δ15NNO3 values (13.3 ± 1.8‰), whereas lowest δ15NNO3 values were measured in unpolluted groundwater (6.9‰). Analogously, nitrate concentration and isotopic ratios were used for source partitioning and qualitatively confirmed δDH2O and δ18OH2O-based estimates. Dual water isotope endmember mixing calculations suggest that city effluents from leaky networks and sewers contribute 30–64% to the heavily polluted groundwater. Ternary mixing calculations including also chloride revealed that 5–18% of the polluted groundwater is wastewater. Up to two thirds of the groundwater originates from mains, indicating excessive water loss from the network, and calling for improved water supply management.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Geowissenschaften > Aquatic and Isotope Biogeochemistry (Lehmann)
UniBasel Contributors:Lehmann, Moritz F and Zopfi, Jakob
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:30 May 2018 07:35
Deposited On:30 May 2018 07:35

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