University of Oulu

Y. Vystavna, S.I. Schmidt, D. Diadin, P.M. Rossi, Y. Vergeles, M. Erostate, I. Yermakovych, V. Yakovlev, K. Knöller, I. Vadillo, Multi-tracing of recharge seasonality and contamination in groundwater: A tool for urban water resource management, Water Research, Volume 161, 2019, Pages 413-422, ISSN 0043-1354,

Multi-tracing of recharge seasonality and contamination in groundwater : a tool for urban water resource management

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Author: Vystavna, Y.1,2; Schmidt, S.I.1; Diadin, D.2;
Organizations: 1Institute of Hydrobiology, Biology Centre of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Na Sádkách 7, 37005, České Budějovice, Czech Republic
2Department of Environmental Engineering and Management, O.M. Beketov National University of Urban Economy in Kharkiv, vul. Marshala Bazhanova 17, 61002, Kharkiv, Ukraine
3Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Unit, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 4300, 90014, Oulu, Finland
4Université de Corse Pascal Paoli, Faculté des Sciences et Techniques, Département d’Hydrogéologie, Campus Grimaldi, BP 52, F-20250, Corte, France
5CNRS, UMR 6134, SPE, F-20250, Corte, France
6Water Quality Laboratory “PLAYA”, vul. Hanna 10, 61001, Kharkiv, Ukraine
7Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Department of Catchment Hydrology, Theodor-Lieser-Str. 4, 06120, Halle, Germany
8Group of Hydrogeology, Faculty of Science, University of Malaga, 29071, Malaga, Spain
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 8.4 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-09-19


In this study, sources of recharge and contamination in urban groundwater and in groundwater underneath a forest in the same aquifer were determined and compared. Data on hydro-chemical parameters and stable isotopes of water were collected in urban and forest springs in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine, over a period of 12 months. Groundwater transit time and precipitation contribution were calculated using hydrogeological data and stable isotopes of water to delineate groundwater recharge conditions. Hydro-chemical data, stable isotopes and emerging contaminants were used to trace anthropogenic groundwater recharge and approximate sewage and tap water contributions to the aquifer. The results indicated that each spring had unique isotopic signatures that could be explained by recharge conditions, groundwater residence time, and specific mixing patterns with sewage and water leaks. Elevated nitrate content, stable isotopes of nitrate, and the presence of emerging pollutants (mainly illicit drugs) in most of the urban springs confirmed mixing of urban groundwater with sewage leaks. These leaks amounted to up to 25% of total recharge and exhibited seasonal variations in some springs. Overall, the results show that urban groundwater receives variable seasonal contributions of anthropogenic components that increase the risk to the environment and human health, and reduce its usability for drinking water production. The multi-tracing approach presented can be useful for other cities worldwide that have similar problems of poor water management and inadequate sewage and water supply infrastructure.

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Series: Water research
ISSN: 0043-1354
ISSN-E: 1879-2448
ISSN-L: 0043-1354
Volume: 161
Pages: 413 - 422
DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2019.06.028
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 212 Civil and construction engineering
218 Environmental engineering
Funding: This research was carried out within the framework of CRP F33024 “Isotope Techniques for the Evaluation of Water Sources for Domestic Supply in Urban Areas” funded by the IAEA and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) IHP Program on Emerging Pollutants in Wastewater Reuse in Developing Countries, International Initiative on Water Quality (IIWQ) case study “Emerging pollutants in water and wastewater of East Ukraine: Occurrence, Fate and Regulation” (Contract No. 4500282119).
Copyright information: © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license