Earth Science Frontiers ›› 2021, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (5): 15-25.DOI: 10.13745/j.esf.sf.2021.2.5

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Groundwater quality and pollution assessment based on ‘hierarchical ladder evaluation method’: A case study of Tongchuan Cit

XIE Fei1,2(), ZHANG Yuxi1,2,*(), LIU Jingtao1,2, ZHOU Bing1,2,3, XIANG Xiaoping1,2   

  1. 1. Institute of Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Shijiazhuang 050061,China
    2. China Geological Survey & Hebei Key Laboratory of Groundwater Remediation, Shijiazhuang 050061, China
    3. China University of Geosciences (Beijing), Beijing 100083, China
  • Received:2020-05-10 Revised:2020-08-31 Online:2021-09-25 Published:2021-10-29
  • Contact: ZHANG Yuxi


Measurements of regional groundwater quality and pollution status play an important role in groundwater pollution control, groundwater resources protection and management, especially in the western inland arid areas. In this study, groundwater in Tongchuan City of Shanxi Province was systematically sampled and the groundwater quality and pollution status were evaluated through analyses of conventional, inorganic toxicological and trace organics indicators using ‘hierarchical ladder evaluation method’. The results showed that the shallow water quality in Tongchuan City was relatively poor in 2011, with 60% of the samples qualified as drinkable water or drinkable water after proper treatment and 40% as not suitable for drinking. The quality of shallow water was affected by both natural background and human activities, and the main influencing indicators were total hardness and NO 3 -, TDS, Mg2+and SO 4 2 - contents. In contrast, the quality of deep water was relatively good, and all sampling sites could be used as drinking water sources. The deep water was mainly affected by natural background, and the main influencing indicator was total Fe. In terms of pollution grade, the shallow water samples with pollution grades 1, 2, 3 and 4 accounted for 44%, 16%, 32% and 8% of the total samples, respectively, with pollution mainly distributed in the Qishui river valley from south of Jinshuoguan to north of Chuankou; whereas the deep water samples were all assigned pollution grade 1, i.e., unaffected by human pollution. Compared with other methods, ‘hierarchical ladder evaluation method’ has obvious advantages in distinguishing the impact of natural background versus pollution on groundwater quality. Combined with regional background analysis and field investigation, this approach can be an effective way to scientifically acquire a good knowledge of regional groundwater quality as well as pollution status.

Key words: Tongchuan City, groundwater quality, hierarchical ladder evaluation method, pollution assessment

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