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Hydrochemical disturbances measured in groundwater during the construction and operation of a large-scale underground facility in deep crystalline rock in Japan

Iwatsuki, Teruki, Hagiwara, Hiroki, Ohmori, Kazuaki, Munemoto, Takashi, Onoe, Hironori
Environmental earth sciences 2015 v.74 no.4 pp. 3041-3057
chemistry, clay, drawdown, groundwater, multivariate analysis, rocks, water table, Japan
Changes in the hydrochemical conditions of groundwater were evaluated following the construction of a large-scale underground facility at the Mizunami Underground Research Laboratory (MIU), Japan. The facility was constructed to a depth of 500 m in sedimentary and granitic rocks. Drawdown of the groundwater level in the range of several tens to hundreds of meters was observed up to hundreds of meters away from the shafts during the first ten years of facility construction and operation. Subsequent changes in groundwater chemistry occurred due to upconing of high-salinity groundwater from the deepest part of the shaft and the infiltration of low-salinity shallow groundwater. We predict that future deep groundwater chemistry in the vicinity of the MIU facility will resemble that of the present-day shallow groundwater. Multivariate statistical analysis provides fundamental insights into such a site. We found that the extent of hydrochemical variability related to MIU construction and operation was dependent on the distance from the facility shafts and galleries and on hydrogeological compartmentalization resulting from lithological boundaries (such as permeable conglomerates vs. more compact lithological units) and other features (such as faults or clay layers). We conclude that hydrochemical impact assessment of groundwater in low-permeability rock is essential prior to the construction of such a facility. This should include characterization of hydrogeological structures and compartments to propose suitable location of shafts and galleries.