The origin of high ammonium and sulphate concentrations, characterizing the saline groundwater of the Po River floodplain coastal aquifer, are documented. A detailed understanding of the hydrogeochemical conceptual model is built up using a hydrochemical (major ions, DOC, DIC and methane) and isotopic (d15NNO3, d15NNH4, d18ONO3, d34SSO4, d18OSO4 and d13CDIC) approach. Based on previous hydrogeological investigations, two boreholes located in contrasting environments (urban and agricultural) have been sampled at high vertical resolution. Groundwater is mostly under reducing conditions, characterized by high DOC and DIC concentrations but low to moderate methane content. Dissolved ammonium, as high as 87.8 mgL1, derives by the mineralization of N-organic rich fine sediments, as indicated by its N isotopic signatures (1÷3‰). Attenuation processes of ammonium are ruled by dilution and by partial nitrification, supported by the enrichment in d15NNH4 (~þ7‰). Apart from dilution/oxidation processes, the positive correlation between d15NNO3 and d18ONO3 agreed with the occurrence of denitrification in the shallow part of the aquifer. d34SSO4 and d18OSO4 data highlight that oxidation of pyrite occurs but is not necessarily linked to nitrate removal. The isotope data showed that sulphate (>2500 mgL1) is of marine origin. In the deeper part of the aquifer, sulphur and oxygen isotopes enrichment patterns, demonstrated that sulphate reduction (SR) occurs in the aquifer and it is also possible that SR occurred in the underlying clay units. d13CDIC pattern toward depleted d13CDIC values even as low as 40.4‰ documented the occurrence of SR mediated by organic carbon and SR coupled to oxidation of methane (AOM) are involved in the sulphur and carbon cycles. The present study shows the advantage of using stable isotopes complemented with geochemical data to characterize the solutes' origins, both natural and anthropogenic, and giving insights on biogeochemical transformations involving nitrogen, sulphur and carbon in coastal sediments.

Nitrogen and sulphur cycling in the saline coastal aquifer of Ferrara, Italy. A multi-isotope approach / Caschetto, Mariachiara; Colombani, Nicolo'; Mastrocicco, M.; Petitta, Marco; Aravena, R.. - In: APPLIED GEOCHEMISTRY. - ISSN 0883-2927. - 76:(2017), pp. 88-98. [10.1016/j.apgeochem.2016.11.014]

Nitrogen and sulphur cycling in the saline coastal aquifer of Ferrara, Italy. A multi-isotope approach

CASCHETTO, MARIACHIARA;COLOMBANI, NICOLO'
;
PETITTA, Marco;
2017

Abstract

The origin of high ammonium and sulphate concentrations, characterizing the saline groundwater of the Po River floodplain coastal aquifer, are documented. A detailed understanding of the hydrogeochemical conceptual model is built up using a hydrochemical (major ions, DOC, DIC and methane) and isotopic (d15NNO3, d15NNH4, d18ONO3, d34SSO4, d18OSO4 and d13CDIC) approach. Based on previous hydrogeological investigations, two boreholes located in contrasting environments (urban and agricultural) have been sampled at high vertical resolution. Groundwater is mostly under reducing conditions, characterized by high DOC and DIC concentrations but low to moderate methane content. Dissolved ammonium, as high as 87.8 mgL1, derives by the mineralization of N-organic rich fine sediments, as indicated by its N isotopic signatures (1÷3‰). Attenuation processes of ammonium are ruled by dilution and by partial nitrification, supported by the enrichment in d15NNH4 (~þ7‰). Apart from dilution/oxidation processes, the positive correlation between d15NNO3 and d18ONO3 agreed with the occurrence of denitrification in the shallow part of the aquifer. d34SSO4 and d18OSO4 data highlight that oxidation of pyrite occurs but is not necessarily linked to nitrate removal. The isotope data showed that sulphate (>2500 mgL1) is of marine origin. In the deeper part of the aquifer, sulphur and oxygen isotopes enrichment patterns, demonstrated that sulphate reduction (SR) occurs in the aquifer and it is also possible that SR occurred in the underlying clay units. d13CDIC pattern toward depleted d13CDIC values even as low as 40.4‰ documented the occurrence of SR mediated by organic carbon and SR coupled to oxidation of methane (AOM) are involved in the sulphur and carbon cycles. The present study shows the advantage of using stable isotopes complemented with geochemical data to characterize the solutes' origins, both natural and anthropogenic, and giving insights on biogeochemical transformations involving nitrogen, sulphur and carbon in coastal sediments.
2017
anaerobic oxidation of methane; coastal aquifer; multilevel sampling; reactive nitrogen; stable isotopes; sulphate reduction; environmental chemistry; pollution; geochemistry and petrology
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Nitrogen and sulphur cycling in the saline coastal aquifer of Ferrara, Italy. A multi-isotope approach / Caschetto, Mariachiara; Colombani, Nicolo'; Mastrocicco, M.; Petitta, Marco; Aravena, R.. - In: APPLIED GEOCHEMISTRY. - ISSN 0883-2927. - 76:(2017), pp. 88-98. [10.1016/j.apgeochem.2016.11.014]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/963372
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