Advantages of longer–term tracing -- three case studies from Slovenia


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August 2004


A variety of human activities can negatively impact on sensitive karst environments, especially on karst water. To protect such water adequately it is necessary to obtain as much information as possible on the extent of the recharge zones and characteristics of the groundwater flow. The authors’ experience has shown tracer tests to be a very useful tool in acquiring such information. Three examples from Slovenia are presented in this paper. In the first, an estimate was made of the danger of water contamination resulting from a petrochemical storage depot. In the second, the possible impacts of an area used for military training were studied. In the third, the effects of the construction of a railway line on regionally important water resources were assessed. Besides basic information about the direction and velocity of groundwater flow, some methodological principles were also identified by the studies. In all three test areas sampling was carried out for a lengthy period and continued after the detection of the peak concentrations. The results show that only the use of such lengthy tracer tests enable the definition of those flow paths, which are activated in extreme hydrological conditions.


Karst Waters, Human Impacts, Tracer Tests, Slovenia

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