Saline solutions are the most commonly used hydrological tracers, because they can be easily and economically monitored by in situ instrumentation such as electrical conductivity (EC) loggers in wells or by geoelectrical measurements. Unfortunately, these low-cost techniques only provide information on the total concentration of ions in solution, i.e.; they cannot resolve the ionic composition of the aqueous solution. This limitation can introduce a bias in the estimation of aquifer parameters where sorption phenomena between saline tracers and sediments become relevant. In general, only selected anions such as Cl - and Br - are recognised to be transported unretarded and they are referred to as conservative tracers or mobile anions. However, cations within the saline tracer may interact with the soil matrix through a range of processes such as ion exchange, surface complexation and via physical mass-transfer phenomena. Heterogeneous reactions with minerals or mineral surfaces may not be negligible where aquifers are composed of fine alluvial sediments. The focus of the present study was to examine and to quantify the bias between the aquifer parameters estimated during model-based interpretation of experimental data of EC measurements of saline tracer relative to the aquifer parameters found by specific measurements (i.e. via ionic chromatography, IC) of truly conservative species. To accomplish this, column displacement experiments with alluvial aquifer materials collected from the Po lowlands (Italy) were performed under water saturated conditions. The behaviour of six selected, commonly used saline tracers (i.e.; LiCl, KCl, and NaCl; LiBr, KBr, and NaBr) was studied and the data analysed by inverse modelling. The results demonstrate that the use of EC as a tracer can lead to an erroneous parameterisation of the investigated porous media, if the reactions between solute and matrix are neglected. In general, errors were significant except for KCl and KBr, which is due to the weak interaction between dissolved K + and the sediment material. The study shows that laboratory scale pre-investigations can help with tracer selection and to optimise the concentration range targeted for in situ multilevel monitoring by unspecific geoelectrical instrumentation.

Evaluation of saline tracer performance during electrical conductivity groundwater monitoring / Mastrocicco, Micòl; Prommer, Henning; Pasti, Luisa; Palpacelli, Stefano; Colombani, Nicolò. - In: JOURNAL OF CONTAMINANT HYDROLOGY. - ISSN 0169-7722. - ELETTRONICO. - 123:3-4(2011), pp. 157-166. [10.1016/j.jconhyd.2011.01.001]

Evaluation of saline tracer performance during electrical conductivity groundwater monitoring

Palpacelli, Stefano
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Colombani, Nicolò
Conceptualization
2011-01-01

Abstract

Saline solutions are the most commonly used hydrological tracers, because they can be easily and economically monitored by in situ instrumentation such as electrical conductivity (EC) loggers in wells or by geoelectrical measurements. Unfortunately, these low-cost techniques only provide information on the total concentration of ions in solution, i.e.; they cannot resolve the ionic composition of the aqueous solution. This limitation can introduce a bias in the estimation of aquifer parameters where sorption phenomena between saline tracers and sediments become relevant. In general, only selected anions such as Cl - and Br - are recognised to be transported unretarded and they are referred to as conservative tracers or mobile anions. However, cations within the saline tracer may interact with the soil matrix through a range of processes such as ion exchange, surface complexation and via physical mass-transfer phenomena. Heterogeneous reactions with minerals or mineral surfaces may not be negligible where aquifers are composed of fine alluvial sediments. The focus of the present study was to examine and to quantify the bias between the aquifer parameters estimated during model-based interpretation of experimental data of EC measurements of saline tracer relative to the aquifer parameters found by specific measurements (i.e. via ionic chromatography, IC) of truly conservative species. To accomplish this, column displacement experiments with alluvial aquifer materials collected from the Po lowlands (Italy) were performed under water saturated conditions. The behaviour of six selected, commonly used saline tracers (i.e.; LiCl, KCl, and NaCl; LiBr, KBr, and NaBr) was studied and the data analysed by inverse modelling. The results demonstrate that the use of EC as a tracer can lead to an erroneous parameterisation of the investigated porous media, if the reactions between solute and matrix are neglected. In general, errors were significant except for KCl and KBr, which is due to the weak interaction between dissolved K + and the sediment material. The study shows that laboratory scale pre-investigations can help with tracer selection and to optimise the concentration range targeted for in situ multilevel monitoring by unspecific geoelectrical instrumentation.
2011
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11566/267528
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