Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 30, pp 30561–30574 | Cite as

Risk assessment of groundwater environmental contamination: a case study of a karst site for the construction of a fossil power plant

  • Fuming Liu
  • Shuping YiEmail author
  • Haiyi Ma
  • Junyi Huang
  • Yukun Tang
  • Jianbo Qin
  • Wan-huan Zhou
Water Environment Protection and Contamination Treatment


This paper presents a demonstration of an integrated risk assessment and site investigation for groundwater contamination through a case study, in which the geologic and hydrogeological feature of the site and the blueprint of the fossil power plant (FPP) were closely analyzed. Predictions for groundwater contamination in case of accidents were performed by groundwater modeling system (GMS) and modular three-dimensional multispecies transport model (MT3DMS). Results indicate that the studied site area presents a semi-isolated hydrogeological unit with multiplicity in stratum lithology, the main aquifers at the site are consisted of the filled karst development layer with a thickness between 6.0 and 40.0 m. The poor permeability of the vadose zone at the FPP significantly restricted the infiltration of contaminants through the vadose zone to the subsurface. The limited influence of rarely isotropic porous karstified carbonate rocks on the groundwater flow system premised the simulate scenarios of plume migration. Analysis of the present groundwater chemistry manifested that that the groundwater at the site and the local area are of the HCO3–Ca, HCO3, and SO4–Ca types. A few of the water samples were contaminated by coliform bacteria and ammonia nitrogen as a result of the local cultivation. Prediction results indicate that the impact of normal construction and operation processes on the groundwater environment is negligible. However, groundwater may be partly contaminated within a certain period in the area of leakage from the diesel tanks, the industrial wastewater pool, and the cooling tower water tank in case of accidents. On a positive note, none of the plumes would reach the local sensitive areas for groundwater using. Finally, an anti-seepage scheme and a monitoring program are proposed to safeguard the groundwater protection. The integrated method of the site investigation and risk assessment used in this case study can facilitate the protection of groundwater for the construction of large-scale industrial project.


Groundwater contamination Integrated site investigation Risk assessment Solute transport Karst hydrogeology 



This work was supported by Shenzhen Municipal Science and Technology Innovation Committee through project Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Soil and Groundwater Pollution Control (No. ZDSY20150831141712549) and Shenzhen fundamental research project (JCYJ20150831142213741). Partial funding has also been supported by Shenzhen Peacock Plan (No. KQTD2016022619584022).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Soil and Groundwater Pollution ControlShenzhenChina
  2. 2.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringSouthern University of Science and TechnologyShenzhenChina
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversity of MacauMacauChina
  4. 4.Guangdong Electric Power Design InstituteChina Energy Engineering Group Co., Ltd.GuangzhouChina

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