Geochemical characterization and health risk assessment in two diversified environmental settings (Southern Italy)

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Abstract

An integrated approach using chemical and microbial indicators has been tested in two different sites of the Campania Plain (Southern Italy) with different land use covering and different hydrogeological features in order: (1) to define the water-rock interaction processes, (2) to differentiate sources of pollution in a detailed way (3) to evaluate the degree of water quality in the studied alluvial aquifer and (4) to identify the most worrying elements for human's health. Groundwater have showed a HCO3-Ca signature for both investigated sites, and a progressive enrichment in alkali ions has been highlighted moving from the boundary of the plain toward the coastal areas, due to groundwater interaction with volcanic rocks along the flow path. The application of the Factor Analysis allowed to identify different sources of pollution, which were attributed to (a) leaks in the sewer system for the Agro-Aversano Area and also the spreading of manure as fertilizers in agricultural activities for the Caiazzo Plain. Furthermore, it has been highlighted that the use of major elements, trace elements and microbiological indicators, allows to accurately differentiate contamination processes in progress. In fact, from the results of the Factor Analysis applied in the Agro-Aversano area, no significant statistically relationships between major elements and microbiological indicators of fecal contamination were highlighted, unlike the Caiazzo plain where statistically significant correlations have been found between major and trace elements and microbiological indicators. The use of a Groundwater Quality Index has shown general poor water quality for the majority of analyzed samples due to the high amount of Nitrate and Fecal indicators. The use of a Health Risk Assessment highlighted that Nitrate coupled with Fluoride represent the most important concern for human health compared to the all investigated parameters in both sites.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironmental Geochemistry and Health
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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