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4-3 Karst water quality

Karst water quality - Qualité de l’eau karstique (particules, microbiologie, polluants émergents)
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Despite their important contribution to freshwater supply, karst aquifers – because of their specific hydrological and hydrogeological characteristics – are particularly vulnerable to contamination. In contrast to other aquifer types, the effectiveness of many of the natural attenuation processes is reduced in karst aquifers. During recharge periods, chemical and microbiological contaminants – mainly originating from industrial and agricultural activities – may be introduced into the aquifer, either diffusely by infiltration and percolation through shallow soils and the unsaturated zone or concentrated via sinking streams. These contaminants may then be rapidly transported in the saturated zone, through the active conduit networks of karst systems, towards water abstraction points. Although suspended matter and microbial pathogens (bacteria, protozoa, viruses) are among the most frequent and problematic contaminants in karst hydrogeology, other contaminants – such as pesticides, non aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs, LNAPLs) and poly-aromatic hydrocarbons – may also be of concern.

This session aims at presenting the current knowledge on contamination problems and contaminant transport in karst aquifers. Approaches to protect groundwater resources will also be discussed.


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Jacques Mudry,
22 Aug 2011, 09:49
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