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Groundwater age indicators from public supplies tapping the chalk aquifer of southern England

By W.G. Darling, B. Morris, M.E. Stuart and D.C. Gooddy

Abstract

Bulk age determinations, based upon chlorofluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride measurements of samples from twenty-one chalk groundwater supplies in southern England, Indicate that waters of relatively recent age predominate In both unconfined and partially confined situations. Water from pumping stations located on chalk below Palaeogene cover can be distinguished hydrochemically, and a likely interpretation is that these supplies are receiving a small proportion of recharge via induced via induced leakage. Whilst water which is abstracted from the chalk always involves mixing processes, for a sub-set of confined supplies, ‘piston’ flow could be inferred as a dominant mechanism - resulting in bulk groundwater ages of a few decades. Other supplies are the product of complex mixing. Although low-level chlorofluorocarbon enrichment was encountered for half the catchments sampled, they and sulphur hexafluoride appear to provide independent corroboration to microbiological indicators of the presence of rapid recharge.\ud \u

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Year: 2005
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1747-6593.2005.tb00546.x
OAI identifier: oai:nora.nerc.ac.uk:12223
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