Aquatic Geochemistry

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 197–209 | Cite as

Hydrogeochemical Analysis of Processes Through Modeling of Seawater Intrusion Impacts in Biscayne Aquifer Water Quality, USA

  • Yonas T. Habtemichael
  • Hector R. FuentesEmail author
Original Article


Hydrogeochemical processes that accompany seawater intrusion in coastal aquifers can alter the resulting water quality and are important ingredients in coastal aquifer management. The presence of dissolution–precipitation reactions and ion exchange in the mixing zone of the Biscayne aquifer (FL, USA) are suggested based on changes in major ion concentrations and mineral saturation indices (SI). Major ion concentrations from 11 groundwater samples are compared with theoretical mixing between freshwater and seawater. PHREEQC code was used to calculate saturation indices of the samples with respect to common phases in the Biscayne aquifer. High Ca2+ and HCO3 content of the samples is typical of waters in contact with carbonate aquifers. Water quality of the samples is mainly attributed to mixing and precipitation–dissolution reactions with calcite and dolomite. The samples were saturated with calcite (SI ~ 0) and undersaturated for dolomite (SI < 0), while a few samples showed dolomite saturation. Because gypsum and halite SI could be predicted by theoretical mixing, reactions with those minerals, if present, are thought to be insignificant. In the active intrusion areas, cation exchange also appears to modify water quality leading to excess Ca2+, but depleted Na+, Mg2+ and K+ concentrations. On the other hand, samples from previous intrusion areas plotted very close to the theoretical mixing line and approached equilibrium with the seawater.


Saltwater intrusion Water–rock interactions Geochemical modeling Carbonate aquifer USA 



The authors acknowledge funding provided by Florida International University, through a Presidential Fellowship and a Research Assistantship.


  1. Appelo C (1994) Cation and proton exchange, pH variations, and carbonate reactions in a freshening aquifer. Water Resour Res 30:2793–2805CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Appelo CAJ, Postma D (2010) Geochemistry, groundwater and pollution, 2nd edn. Taylor & Francis, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  3. Back W, Hanshaw BB, Herman JS, Van Driel JN (1986) Differential dissolution of a Pleistocene reef in the ground-water mixing zone of coastal Yucatan, Mexico. Geology 14:137–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barlow PM, Reichard EG (2010) Saltwater intrusion in coastal regions of North America. Hydrogeol J 18:247–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bear J, Cheng AHD, Sorek S, Ouazar D, Herrera I (1999) Seawater intrusion in coastal aquifers: concepts, methods and practices. Kluwer Academic Publishers, AmsterdamCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bradner A, McPherson BF, Miller RL, Kish G, Bernard B (2005) Quality of ground water in the biscayne aquifer in miami-dade, broward, and palm beach counties, Florida, 1996–1998, with emphasis on contaminants. US Geol Surv Open-File Rep 2004–1438:20Google Scholar
  7. Cooper HH, Kohout FA, Henry HR, Glover RE (1964) Sea water in coastal aquifers. US Geol Surv Water-Suppl Pap 1613-C, 84Google Scholar
  8. Cunningham KJ (2004) Characterization of aquifer heterogeneity using cyclostratigraphy and geophysical methods in the upper part of the karstic Biscayne aquifer, southeastern Florida. US Geol Surv Water Resour Invest Rep 03-4208, 66Google Scholar
  9. Cunningham KJ, Wacker MA, Robinson E, Dixon JF, Wingard GL (2006) A cyclostratigraphic and borehole-geophysical approach to development of a three-dimensional conceptual hydrogeologic model of the karstic Biscayne aquifer, southeastern Florida. US Geol Surv Sci Invest Rep 2005–5235:69Google Scholar
  10. Dausman A, Langevin CD (2005) Movement of the saltwater interface in the surficial aquifer system in response to hydrologic stresses and water-management practices, Broward County, Florida. US Geol Surv Sci Invest Rep 2004–5256:1–73Google Scholar
  11. Fish JE, Stewart MT (1991) Hydrogeology of the surficial aquifer system, Dade County, Florida. US Geol Surv Water Resour Invest Rep 90-4108Google Scholar
  12. Ghiglieri G, Carletti A, Pittalis D (2012) Analysis of salinization processes in the coastal carbonate aquifer of Porto Torres (NW Sardinia, Italy). J Hydrol 432:43–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gimenez E, Morell I (1997) Hydrogeochemical analysis of salinization processes in the coastal aquifer of Oropesa (Castellon, Spain). Environ Geol 29:118–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Harvey RW, Metge DW, Shapiro AM, Renken RA, Osborn CL, Ryan JN, Cunningham KJ, Landkamer L (2008) Pathogen and chemical transport in the karst limestone of the Biscayne aquifer: 3. Use of microspheres to estimate the transport potential of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts. Water Resour Res 44:W08431CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hem JD (1985) Study and interpretation of the chemical characteristics of natural water. US Geol Surv Water-Suppl Pap 2254Google Scholar
  16. Klein H, Waller B (1984) Synopsis of saltwater intrusion in Dade County, Florida, through 1984. US Geol Surv Water-Res Invest Rep 85–4101:1Google Scholar
  17. Kohout F (1960) Cyclic flow of salt water in the Biscayne aquifer of southeastern Florida. J Geophys Res 65:2133–2141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kouzana L, Mammou AB, Felfoul MS (2009) Seawater intrusion and associated processes: case of the Korba aquifer (Cap-Bon, Tunisia). C R Geosci 341:21–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Langevin CD, Zygnerski M (2013) Effect of sea-level rise on salt water intrusion near a coastal well field in Southeastern Florida. Groundwater 51:781–803CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Marella RL (2009) Water withdrawals, use, and trends in Florida, 2005. US Geol Surv Sci Invest Rep 2009–5125:1–49Google Scholar
  21. Parkhurst DL, Appelo C (2013) Description of input and examples for PHREEQC version 3: a computer program for speciation, batch-reaction, one-dimensional transport, and inverse geochemical calculations. US Geol Surv Tech Methods, book 6, chap. A-43, 497Google Scholar
  22. Peters CJ (2008) Saltwater Intrusion Monitoring in the Biscayne Aquifer near Florida City, Miami-Dade County, Florida: 1996–2007. Proceedings of 20th SWIM, 195–198Google Scholar
  23. Plummer L, Vacher H, Mackenzie F, Bricker O, Land L (1976) Hydrogeochemistry of Bermuda: a case history of ground-water diagenesis of biocalcarenites. Geol Soc Am Bull 87:1301–1316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Price RM (2001) Geochemical determinations of groundwater flow in Everglades National Park. PhD Dissertation, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, 235Google Scholar
  25. Price RM, Herman JS (1991) Geochemical investigation of salt-water intrusion into a coastal carbonate aquifer: Mallorca, Spain. Geol Soc Am Bull 103:1270–1279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Prinos ST, Wacker MA, Cunningham KJ, Fitterman DV (2014) Origins and delineation of saltwater intrusion in the biscayne aquifer and changes in the distribution of Saltwater in Miami-Dade County, Florida. US Geol Surv Sci Invest Rep 2014–5025:101pGoogle Scholar
  27. Pulido-Leboeuf P (2004) Seawater intrusion and associated processes in a small coastal complex aquifer (Castell de Ferro, Spain). Appl Geochem 19:1517–1527CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Reese RS, Cunningham KJ (2000) Hydrogeology of the gray limestone aquifer in southern Florida. US Geol Surv Water Resour Invest Rep 99-4213, 244Google Scholar
  29. Renken R, Cunningham K, Zygnerski M, Wacker M, Shapiro A, Harvey R, Metge D, Osborn C, Ryan J (2005) Assessing the vulnerability of a municipal well field to contamination in a karst aquifer. Environ Eng Geosci 11:319–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Renken RA, Cunningham KJ, Shapiro AM, Harvey RW, Zygnerski MR, Metge DW, Wacker MA (2008) Pathogen and chemical transport in the karst limestone of the Biscayne aquifer: 1. Revised conceptualization of groundwater flow. Water Resour Res 44:399–416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Rezaei M, Sanz E, Raeisi E, Ayora C, Vázquez-Suñé E, Carrera J (2005) Reactive transport modeling of calcite dissolution in the fresh-salt water mixing zone. J Hydrol 311:282–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Romanov D, Dreybrodt W (2006) Evolution of porosity in the saltwater–freshwater mixing zone of coastal carbonate aquifers: an alternative modelling approach. J Hydrol 329:661–673CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Russak A, Sivan O (2010) Hydrogeochemical tool to identify salinization or freshening of coastal aquifers determined from combined field work, experiments, and modeling. Environ Sci Technol 44:4096–4102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sanford WE, Konikow LF (1989) Simulation of calcite dissolution and porosity changes in saltwater mixing zones in coastal aquifers. Water Resour Res 25:655–667CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sanz E, Ayora C, Carrera J (2011) Calcite dissolution by mixing waters: geochemical modeling and flow-through experiments. Geol Acta 9:67–77Google Scholar
  36. Sivan O, Yechieli Y, Herut B, Lazar B (2005) Geochemical evolution and timescale of seawater intrusion into the coastal aquifer of Israel. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 69:579–592CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Smart P, Dawans J, Whitaker F (1988) Carbonate dissolution in a modern mixing zone. Nature 335:811–813CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sonenshein RS (1997) Delineation and extent of saltwater intrusion in the Biscayne Aquifer, eastern Dade County, Florida, 1995. US Geol Surv Water Resour Invest Rep 96-4285, 1Google Scholar
  39. Stoessell R, Ward W, Ford B, Schuffert J (1989) Water chemistry and CaCO3 dissolution in the saline part of an open-flow mixing zone, coastal Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Geol Soc Am Bull 101:159–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Swayze LJ (1980) Water-level contour and salt-front map, hialeah-miami springs well field area, Dade County, Florida, October 13, 1978. US Geol Surv Open-File Rep 80–8:1Google Scholar
  41. Werner AD, Bakker M, Post VE, Vandenbohede A, Lu C, Ataie-Ashtiani B, Simmons CT, Barry DA (2013) Seawater intrusion processes, investigation and management: recent advances and future challenges. Adv Water Resour 51:3–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wicks CM, Herman JS, Randazzo AF, Jee JL (1995) Water-rock interactions in a modern coastal mixing zone. Geol Soc Am Bull 107:1023–1032CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wigley T, Plummer L (1976) Mixing of carbonate waters. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 40:989–995CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA

Personalised recommendations