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Groundwater quality in the Pearl River Delta after the rapid expansion of industrialization and urbanization: Distributions, main impact indicators, and driving forces
- Zhang, Fenge, Huang, Guanxing, Hou, Qinxuan, Liu, Chunyan, Zhang, Ying, Zhang, Quan
- Journal of hydrology 2019 pp. 124004
- aquifers, arsenic, groundwater, hydroxides, industrial wastewater, industrialization, iron, karsts, lead, manganese, mineralization, nickel, nitrates, organic matter, river deltas, rivers, sewage, urban areas, urbanization, water quality
- Industrialization and urbanization expansion may change the groundwater quality in the Pearl River Delta (PRD). The aims of this study were to evaluate the groundwater quality in various aquifers and areas with different urbanization levels in the PRD, to extract the main impact indicators, and to discuss the driving forces for the groundwater quality. Nearly 400 groundwater samples were collected and 23 indicators were analyzed. In the PRD, 83% groundwater was drinkable (good-quality) by using a fuzzy synthetic evaluation method. Groundwater in karst aquifers was drinkable, and its quality was better than those in granular and fissured aquifers. In the latter two aquifer types, groundwater quality in non-urbanized areas was much better than those in peri-urban and urbanized areas. In granular aquifers, Mn + Fe, I- + Ni + Mn, and Mn + As + I- were the main impact indicators for poor-quality groundwater in urbanized areas, peri-urban areas, and non-urbanized areas, respectively. Correspondingly, reductive dissolution of Fe/Mn (oxy)hydroxides, infiltration of industrial wastewater and reductive dissolution of I- and Mn, and reductive dissolution of Mn, As, and I- were likely responsible for poor-quality groundwater in these areas, respectively. By contrast, in fissured aquifers, NO3-, NO3- + Pb, and I- were the main impact indicators for poor-quality groundwater in urbanized areas, peri-urban areas, and non-urbanized areas, respectively. Correspondingly, infiltration of domestic sewage, infiltration of domestic sewage and industrial wastewater, and mineralization of I-rich organic matter were probably responsible for poor-quality groundwater in these areas, respectively. Industrialization was one of the main driving forces for groundwater quality in granular and fissured aquifers in peri-urban areas, while urbanization was one of the main driving forces for groundwater quality in fissured aquifers in urbanized and peri-urban areas in the PRD.