Origin of hexavalent chromium in groundwater: the example of Sarigkiol Basin, Northern Greece

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • N. Kazakis
  • N. Kantiranis
  • K. Kalaitzidou
  • M. Kaprara
  • M. Mitrakas
  • Frei, Robert
  • G. Vargemezis
  • P. Tsourlos
  • A. Zouboulis
  • A. Filippidis

Hexavalent chromium constitutes a serious deterioration factor for the groundwater quality of several regions around the world. High concentrations of this contaminant have been also reported in the groundwater of the Sarigkiol hydrological basin (near Kozani city, NW Greece). Specific interest was paid to this particular study area due to the co-existence here of two important factors both expected to contribute to Cr(VI) presence and groundwater pollution; namely the area's exposed ophiolitic rocks and its substantial fly ash deposits originating from the local lignite burning power plant. Accordingly, detailed geochemical, mineralogical, hydro-chemical, geophysical and hydrogeological studies were performed on the rocks, soils, sediments and water resources of this basin. Cr(VI) concentrations varied in the different aquifers, with the highest concentration (up to 120 μg L− 1) recorded in the groundwater of the unconfined porous aquifer situated near the temporary fly ash disposal site. Recharge of the porous aquifer is related mainly to precipitation infiltration and occasional surface run-off. Nevertheless, a hydraulic connection between the porous and neighboring karst aquifers could not be delineated. Therefore, the presence of Cr(VI) in the groundwater of this area is thought to originate from both the ophiolitic rock weathering products in the soils, and the local leaching of Cr(VI) from the diffused fly ash located in the area surrounding the lignite power plant. This conclusion was corroborated by factor analysis, and the strongly positively fractionated Cr isotopes (δ53Cr up to 0.83‰) recorded in groundwater, an ash leachate, and the bulk fly ash. An anthropogenic source of Cr(VI) that possibly influences groundwater quality is especially apparent in the eastern part of the Sarigkiol basin.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Pages (from-to)552-566
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • Chromium isotopes, Cr(VI) presence, Dispersion of fly ash, Electric resistivity tomography, Factor analysis, Ophiolitic rocks

ID: 177416555