Faculté des sciences

Solute and Colloid Transport in Karst Conduits under Low- and High-Flow Conditions

Göppert, Nadine ; Goldscheider, Nicola

In: Ground Water, 2007, vol. 46, no. 1, p. 61-68

Solute and colloid transport in karst aquifers under low and high flows was investigated by tracer tests using fluorescent dyes (uranine) and microspheres of the size of pathogenic bacteria (1 μm) and Cryptosporidium cysts (5 μm), which were injected into a cave stream and sampled at a spring 2.5 km away. The two types of microspheres were analyzed using an epifluorescence microscope or... Plus

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    Summary
    Solute and colloid transport in karst aquifers under low and high flows was investigated by tracer tests using fluorescent dyes (uranine) and microspheres of the size of pathogenic bacteria (1 μm) and Cryptosporidium cysts (5 μm), which were injected into a cave stream and sampled at a spring 2.5 km away. The two types of microspheres were analyzed using an epifluorescence microscope or a novel fluorescence particle counter, respectively. Uranine breakthrough curves (BTCs) were regular shaped and recovery approached 100%. Microsphere recoveries ranged between 27% and 75%. During low flow, the 1-μm spheres displayed an irregular BTC preceding the uranine peak. Only a very few 5-μm spheres were recovered. During high flow, the 1-μm-sphere BTC was regular and more similar to the uranine curve. BTCs were modeled analytically with CXTFIT using a conventional advection dispersion model (ADM) and a two-region nonequilibrium model (2RNE). The results show that (1) colloids travel at higher velocities than solutes during low flow; (2) colloids and solutes travel at similar velocities during high flow; (3) higher maximum concentrations occur during high flow; and (4) the 2RNE achieves a better fit, while the ADM is more robust, as it requires less parameters.