Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 162, Issue 1–4, pp 123–137 | Cite as

Groundwater geochemistry and identification of hydrogeochemical processes in a hard rock region, Southern India



Hydrogeochemical investigations were carried out in Chithar River basin, Tamil Nadu, India to identify the major geochemical processes that regulate groundwater chemistry. For this study, long-term (1991–1997) and recent water quality data (2001–2002) for 30 groundwater wells spread over the study area were used to understand the groundwater geochemistry and hydrogeochemical process regulating groundwater quality. Groundwater quality data obtained from more than 400 water samples were employed. Results of electrical conductivity and chloride express large variation between minimum and maximum values and high standard deviation, which suggests that the water chemistry in the study region is not homogeneous and influenced by complex contamination sources and geochemical process. Nitrate and depth to water table expose the influences of surface contamination sources, whereas dissolved silica, fluoride and alkalinity strongly suggest the effect of rock–water interaction. In the study region, weathering of carbonate and silicate minerals and ion exchange reactions predominantly regulate major ion chemistry. Besides, the concentrations of sulphate, chloride and nitrate firmly suggest the impact of agricultural activities such as irrigation return flow, fertiliser application, etc on water chemistry in the study region.


Groundwater Geochemistry Hydrogeochemical processes Water–rock interaction Chithar River basin Tamil Nadu India 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringGovernment College of EngineeringSalemIndia
  2. 2.Department of Waste Treatment and Conditioning Research, Nuclear Energy DivisionCommissariat a l’energie atomique (CEA)Bagnols-Sur-Ceze CedexFrance
  3. 3.Department of GeologyAnna UniversityChennaiIndia

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