The Utilization Of Boron And Strontium Isotopes For The Assessment Of Boron Contamination Of The Cecina River Alluvial Aquifer (Central-Western Tuscany, Italy)

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Journal Article: The Utilization Of Boron And Strontium Isotopes For The Assessment Of Boron Contamination Of The Cecina River Alluvial Aquifer (Central-Western Tuscany, Italy)

Abstract
The groundwater B concentration in the alluvial aquifer of the upper Cecina River basin in Tuscany, Italy, often exceeds the limit of 1 mg L-1 set by the European Union for drinking water. On the basis of hydrogeological and geochemical observations, the main source of the B contamination of groundwater has been attributed to past releases into streams of exhausted, B-rich geothermal waters and/or mud derived from boric acid manufacturing in Larderello. The releases were discontinued 25-30 years ago. This study confirms that the B dissolved in groundwater is anthropogenic. In fact, the Δ11B values of groundwater B match the range -12.2‰ to -13.3‰ of the Turkish B mineral (colemanite) processed in boric acid manufacturing, in the course of which no significant isotopic effects have been observed. This isotopic tracing of the Cecina alluvial aquifer occurs just below the confluence of the Possera Creek, which carries the B releases from Larderello. Strontium isotope ratios support this conclusion. At about 18 km from the Possera Creek confluence, the groundwater Δ11B drops to much more negative values (-22‰ to -27‰), which are believed to be produced by adsorption-desorption interactions between dissolved B and the aquifer matrix. The Δ11B of B fixed in well bottom sediments shows a similar variation. At present, desorption is prevailing over adsorption because the releases of B-rich water have ceased. A theoretical model is suggested to explain the isotopic trends observed. Thus, B isotopes appear to be a powerful tool for identifying the origin of B contamination in natural waters, although isotopic effects associated with adsorption-desorption processes may complicate the picture, to some extent.

Authors 
Maddalena Pennisi, Roberto Gonfiantini, Sergio Grassi and Paolo Squarci








Published Journal 
Applied Geochemistry, 2006





DOI 
10.1016/j.apgeochem.2005.11.005


 

Citation

Maddalena Pennisi,Roberto Gonfiantini,Sergio Grassi,Paolo Squarci. 2006. The Utilization Of Boron And Strontium Isotopes For The Assessment Of Boron Contamination Of The Cecina River Alluvial Aquifer (Central-Western Tuscany, Italy). Applied Geochemistry. (!) .