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Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 61, Issue 5, pp 885–897 | Cite as

Natural background levels and threshold values derivation for naturally As, V and F rich groundwater bodies: a methodological case study in Central Italy

  • Elisabetta PreziosiEmail author
  • Giuseppe Giuliano
  • Raffaella Vivona
Original Article

Abstract

Natural background levels (NBL) and threshold values (TV) derivation is an important task for EU Member States to correctly assess the chemical status of groundwater bodies within the context of the recently adopted Groundwater Directive. Attempts are being made both by water authorities and scientific community to test application viability of proposed methods to different real situations and to develop tailored adjustments and refinements. The aim of this paper is to describe a methodological case study of NBL and TV determination in a large area (5,500 km2) located in Central Italy where both natural and anthropogenic contamination occurs, resulting in several substances be detected in ground waters with concentration frequently exceeding drinking water standards. This paper shows the key role played in the determination process by knowledge on the hydrogeological setting and hydrogeochemical features. The adoption of appropriate pre-selection criteria of samples, the establishment of TV at the groundwater body scale for natural origin substances, and the evaluation of TVs exceedances in a multiparameter context are experimentally discussed. Beyond the critical evaluation of NBL and TV determination method, this research aims at increasing consciousness in the water management agencies that groundwater status assessment should be conceived as a scientific evaluation procedure and not as a mere technical/administrative exercise to be performed using any set of available data. As such, it should be supported by adequate knowledge of hydrogeological setting, hydrochemical processes occurring in groundwater bodies, and human activities acting overland to be progressively verified.

Keywords

Natural background level Threshold value Groundwater directive Chemical status assessment 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors are thankful to an anonymous referee who provided numerous hints and useful suggestions that allowed to improve this paper.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisabetta Preziosi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Giuseppe Giuliano
    • 1
  • Raffaella Vivona
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.IRSA-CNR, Water Research InstituteMonterotondo, RomeItaly
  2. 2.University of Pierre et Marie CURIEParis Cedex 05France

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