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Baseline Scotland : groundwater chemistry of the Carboniferous sedimentary aquifers of the Midland Valley

By B.E. O Dochartaigh, P.L. Smedley, A.M. MacDonald, W.G. Darling and S. Homoncik


This report describes the baseline groundwater chemistry of the sedimentary aquifers of Carboniferous age in the Midland Valley of Scotland. Groundwater is an important resource in the Midland Valley, largely for agriculture, but also for industry – including food and drink processing and mineral water bottling, and for domestic use. A large but unquantified volume of groundwater is also still pumped from former mine workings, largely coal mines, in order to maintain water levels and for quality treatment.\ud Analyses for 62 groundwater samples were interpreted for the purposes of this study. Of these, 36 samples were collected for the Baseline Scotland project between September and December 2008. These were augmented with a further 25 samples collected during separate BGS projects since 2001. The sites were chosen largely to be representative of groundwater in the area, and sources that were very poorly constructed were avoided. A small number of samples were deliberately targeted from mines, either from adits, shafts or boreholes. The data were classed in one of five different hydrogeological units (or aquifer groups): four chronostratigraphic groups, which in decreasing order of age are the Inverclyde, Strathclyde, Clackmannan and Coal Measures groups; and a fifth group incorporating waters sampled from mine discharges.\ud An estimate of the baseline groundwater chemistry conditions in the four chronostratigraphic hydrogeological units is presented, based on a statistical summary of the chemical data, which represents values between the 10th and 90th\ud A summary of the conclusions arising from this study follows. percentiles of the full dataset range. This statistical approach to estimating baseline compositions was complemented by selecting 11 analyses of groundwater from sources where there is little or no indication of direct contamination, including likely impact from mining. The chemistry of these samples represents the typical groundwater conditions in the four non-mine hydrogeological units in the sedimentary Carboniferous aquifers of the Midland Valley

Publisher: British Geological Survey
Year: 2011
OAI identifier:

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