Seasonal Hydrochemical Characterization and Groundwater Quality Delineation Based on Matter Element Extension Analysis in a Paper Wastewater Irrigation Area, Northwest China
The current study was carried out to delineate the seasonal hydrochemical characteristics and to quantify the suitability of groundwater for drinking and irrigation purposes in an alluvial plain adjacent to a paper wastewater irrigation zone, northwest China. Groundwater samples were collected from 14 groundwater monitoring wells in pre-monsoon, monsoon and post-monsoon seasons, respectively. Statistical analysis and Chadha diagram were used to delineate the groundwater hydrochemical characteristics. The matter element extension analysis (MEEA) model was proposed to quantify the overall groundwater quality. Irrigation water quality indicators were applied to assess the suitability of groundwater for irrigation purpose. The research results show that the hydrochemical facies for the majority of the groundwater samples is SO4·Cl–Na type with some minor hydrochemical facies of HCO3–Ca·Mg, HCO3–Na, and Cl·SO4–Ca·Mg types. The sequences of ions are Na+ > Ca2+ > Mg2+ > K+ for cations, and HCO3 − > Cl− > SO4 2− > CO3 2− for anions. The major ions and contaminants in the groundwater are controlled by multiple factors including hydrogeological conditions, rock weathering, water–rock interactions and human activities. The values of pH, TDS and TH show reduction in the monsoon season, indicating slight improvement of water quality during the monsoon season. Water quality assessment results based on MEEA show that the overall groundwater quality in the wastewater irrigation zone is generally fair to poor quality. Some groundwater samples are even classified as very poor quality, which is unsuitable for human consumption. They are also unsuitable for irrigation because of potential sodium hazard and salinity hazard. Groundwater from the Yellow River irrigation zone and the alluvial plain is generally suitable for domestic and irrigation uses. Some local water sampling locations may experience water quality improvement during the monsoon season, which, however, will generally not affect the final water quality classification for domestic and irrigation purposes. Interestingly, the study also finds that the variation trend of the correlation degree computed from MEEA can be useful in determining water quality improvement. This study may provide insights for people to make educated decisions in efficient groundwater quality protection and sustainable groundwater quality management.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12403-017-0258-6
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