A Parametric Index to Assess Groundwater Risk of Trace Elements

L. Padovani, M. Trevisan, and E. Capri (Italy)


Groundwater, non-point contamination, trace elements,agriculture, parametric index.


A study aimed at the potential risk assessment of groundwater contamination from trace elements at large scale is presented. The applied methodology employs a parametric index (ATEHI, Agriculture Trace Elements Hazard Index) which integrates two categories of parameters: the hazard factors (HF) which represent all farming activities that cause, or might cause, an impact on soil quality in terms of trace elements, and the control factors (CF) which adapt the hazard factors to the characteristic of the site. The final cumulative groundwater potential risk map for trace elements is obtained combining the intrinsic aquifer vulnerability map with the hazard contamination map calculated with the ATEHI methodology. Organization, processing and mapping is performed using a Geographical Information System (GIS). The ATEHI was applied to the province of Cremona (northern Italy) in order to identify areas where anthropogenic sources of some trace elements (copper and arsenic) from agricultural activities might represent a risk for crops, animals and humans.

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