Hydrogeological Controls of Variable Microbial Water Quality in a Complex Subtropical Karst System in Northern Vietnam
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Karst aquifers are particularly vulnerable to bacterial contamination. Especially in developing countries, poor microbial water quality poses a threat to human health. In order to develop effective groundwater protection strategies, a profound understanding of the hydrogeological setting is crucial. The goal of this study was to elucidate the relationships between high spatio-temporal variability in microbial contamination and the hydrogeological conditions. Based on extensive field studies, including mapping, tracer tests and hydrochemical analyses, a conceptual hydrogeological model was developed for a remote and geologically complex karst area in Northern Vietnam called Dong Van. Four different physicochemical water types were identified; the most important ones correspond to the karstified Bac Son and the fractured Na Quan aquifer. Alongside comprehensive investigation of the local hydrogeology, water quality was evaluated by analysis for three types of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB): Escherichia coli, enterococci and thermotolerant coliforms. The major findings are: (1) Springs from the Bac Son formation displayed the highest microbial contamination, while (2) springs that are involved in a polje series with connections to sinking streams were distinctly more contaminated than springs with a catchment area characterized by a more diffuse infiltration. (3) FIB concentrations are dependent on the season, with higher values under wet season conditions. Furthermore, (4) the type of spring capture also affects the water quality. Nevertheless, all studied springs were faecally impacted, along with several shallow wells within the confined karst aquifer. Based on these findings, effective protection strategies can be developed to improve groundwater quality.
Conceptual Hydrogeological Model, E. Coli, Hydrochemistry, Karst, Vietnam
Hydrogeology Journal, Vol. 26, no. 7 (2018-05-03).
Ender, Anna; Goeppert, Nadine; and Goldscheider, Nico, "Hydrogeological Controls of Variable Microbial Water Quality in a Complex Subtropical Karst System in Northern Vietnam" (2018). KIP Articles. 2427.