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J Contam Hydrol. 2009 Jan 7;103(1-2):13-28. doi: 10.1016/j.jconhyd.2008.08.006. Epub 2008 Sep 13.

Groundwater contamination mechanism in a geothermal field: a case study of Balcova, Turkey.

Author information

1
Dokuz Eylül University, Torbali Technical Vocational School of Higher Education, 35120 Torbali-Izmir, Turkey. niyazi.aksoy@deu.edu.tr

Abstract

The Balcova Geothermal Field (BGF) located in Izmir, Turkey is situated on an east-west directed graben plain within which the hot waters surface from a fault zone that cuts the Mesozoic aged Bornova Flysch. Due to the low permeability and porosity of the Bornova Flysch, the geothermal water cycles along the immediate vicinity of the Agamemnon fault and mixes with cold waters at different depths of this fractured zone. Within the scope of this study, the mixing patterns and the groundwater contamination mechanisms are analyzed by, hydrogeological and hydrogeochemical methods. Based on the results of this research, it has been found out that the hot geothermal water and the cold regional groundwater resources of the surficial aquifer mix within the fractured zone in Bornova Flysch and within the Quaternary alluvium aquifer due to natural and anthropogenic activities including (i) the natural upward movement of geothermal fluid along the fault line, (ii) the accelerated upward seepage of geothermal fluid from faulty constructed boreholes drilled in the area, (iii) the faulty reinjection applications; and, (iv) the uncontrolled discharge of waste geothermal fluid to the natural drainage network. As a result of these activities, the cold groundwater reserves of the alluvial aquifer are contaminated thermally and chemically in such a way that various toxic chemicals including arsenic, antimony and boron are introduced to the heavily used surficial aquifer waters hindering their use for human consumption and agricultural irrigation. Furthermore, the excessive pumping from the surficial aquifer as well as the reduced surface water inflow into BGF due to the dam constructed on Ilica Creek intensify the detrimental effects of this contamination. Based on the results of this study, it can be concluded that the groundwater pollution in BGF will expand and reach to the levels of no return unless a series of preventive measures is taken immediately.

PMID:
18835504
DOI:
10.1016/j.jconhyd.2008.08.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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