Abnormal trace element concentrations in a shallow aquifer belonging to saline reclaimed environments, Codigoro (Italy)

Micòl Mastrocicco, Nicolò Colombani*, Dario Di Giuseppe, Barbara Faccini, Giacomo Ferretti, Massimo Coltorti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Geogenic trace element (TE) contamination is an upcoming concern. The present study reports the temporal and spatial variation of major ions and TEs in a shallow unconfined aquifer belonging to a complex marsh saline environment reclaimed in modern age and intensively cultivated. The use of intensive depth profiles in five different locations gave insights into groundwater and sediment matrix interactions. Data indicate that the dominant factor involved in determining the spatial variability of TE is the sediment–water interaction, while the temporal variation of TE is due to the organic matter content and to the water table oscillation, which in turn drive the groundwater redox status and the mobilization of some inorganic microconstituents, such as Fe and Mn. Despite that the anthropogenic input of TEs in groundwater from fertilizer sources cannot be undoubtedly ruled out, given the elevated TE background concentrations, the combined use of high-resolution sediment profiles, seasonal groundwater sampling and end-member analyses is a promising procedure to distinguish between anthropogenic metal contamination and geogenic contribution in reclaimed deltaic environments. Finally, this study underlines the need of having a dense piezometer network and to perform several monitoring campaigns to ensure that the temporal and spatial variability could be correctly represented and background values of TE confidently determined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-104
Number of pages10
JournalRendiconti Lincei
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • agricultural soils
  • concentration profiles
  • vadose zone
  • metal contamination
  • reclaimed environments

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