Nitrate source identification in groundwater of multiple land-use areas by combining isotopes and multivariate statistical analysis: A case study of Asopos basin (Central Greece).Sci Total Environ. 2016 Jan 15; 541:802-814.ST
Nitrate (NO3) is one of the most common contaminants in aquatic environments and groundwater. Nitrate concentrations and environmental isotope data (δ(15)N-NO3 and δ(18)O-NO3) from groundwater of Asopos basin, which has different land-use types, i.e., a large number of industries (e.g., textile, metal processing, food, fertilizers, paint), urban and agricultural areas and livestock breeding facilities, were analyzed to identify the nitrate sources of water contamination and N-biogeochemical transformations. A Bayesian isotope mixing model (SIAR) and multivariate statistical analysis of hydrochemical data were used to estimate the proportional contribution of different NO3 sources and to identify the dominant factors controlling the nitrate content of the groundwater in the region. The comparison of SIAR and Principal Component Analysis showed that wastes originating from urban and industrial zones of the basin are mainly responsible for nitrate contamination of groundwater in these areas. Agricultural fertilizers and manure likely contribute to groundwater contamination away from urban fabric and industrial land-use areas. Soil contribution to nitrate contamination due to organic matter is higher in the south-western part of the area far from the industries and the urban settlements. The present study aims to highlight the use of environmental isotopes combined with multivariate statistical analysis in locating sources of nitrate contamination in groundwater leading to a more effective planning of environmental measures and remediation strategies in river basins and water bodies as defined by the European Water Frame Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC).