Effects of hydrogeological and anthropogenic factors on the distribution of emerging and legacy contaminants in the karst groundwater systems

dc.contributor.advisor Padilla-Cestero, Ingrid Y. Torres Torres, Norma I. College of Engineering en_US
dc.contributor.committee Macchiavelli, Raúl E.
dc.contributor.committee Segarra-García, Rafael
dc.contributor.committee Muñoz-Barreto, Jonathan
dc.contributor.department Department of Civil Engineering en_US
dc.contributor.representative Hughes Merz, Kenneth S. 2022-05-20T14:58:00Z 2022-05-20T14:58:00Z 2022-05-19
dc.description.abstract The characteristics of the Karst Region of Northern Puerto Rico (KRNPR) make this aquifer highly productive, being an important source of groundwater for multiple purposes, but highly vulnerable to contamination. This aquifer has been subjected to contamination since 1980’s with chlorinated volatile organic compounds (CVOCs), phthalates, and nitrates from multiple sources. This research assesses the potential effects of hydrogeological and anthropogenic factors on the distribution of legacy and emerging groundwater contaminants in the karst groundwater system of northern Puerto Rico, characterized by both conduit and diffuse flow. Contaminant, hydrogeological, and anthropogenic data, collected from governmental agencies and current sampling campaign were analyzed using different spatial, temporal, and statistical techniques. Results from this research indicate that legacy and emerging groundwater contaminants are persistent and widespread in the karst aquifer of northern Puerto Rico since 1980’s, suggesting high vulnerability of this aquifer to contamination with CVOCs, phthalates and nitrates. The presence of those contaminants is influenced by multiple hydrogeological and anthropogenic factors and vary depending on the contaminant type. The high variability of hydraulic response of groundwater levels to precipitation and its relationship to different contaminants is influenced by the location, physical-chemical characteristics of the contaminants, and hydrogeological characteristics of the aquifer. en_US
dc.description.abstract Las características de la región kárstica del norte de Puerto Rico hacen que este acuífero sea altamente productivo, siendo una fuente importante de agua subterránea para múltiples propósitos, pero altamente vulnerable a la contaminación. Este acuífero ha estado sujeto a contaminación desde la década de 1980 con compuestos orgánicos volátiles clorinados (CVOCs), ftalatos y nitratos, provenientes de múltiples fuentes. Esta investigación evalúa los efectos potenciales de los factores hidrogeológicos y antropogénicos en la distribución de contaminantes regulados y emergentes en el sistema kárstico del norte de Puerto Rico, caracterizado por flujo de conducto, como difuso. Los datos de contaminantes, hidrogeológicos y antropogénicos, recopilados de agencias de gobierno y de un muestreo actual, fueron analizados utilizando diferentes técnicas espaciales, temporales y estadísticas. Los resultados de esta investigación indican que los contaminantes regulados y emergentes están distribuidos a lo largo del acuífero kárstico del norte de Puerto Rico desde la década de 1980, sugiriendo una alta vulnerabilidad de este acuífero a la contaminación con CVOCs, ftalatos nitratos. La presencia de estos contaminantes es influenciada por múltiples factores hidrogeológicos y antropogénicos y varían dependiendo del tipo de contaminante. La alta variabilidad de la respuesta hidráulica de los niveles de agua a la precipitación y su relación con los diferentes contaminantes esta influenciada por la localización, las características físicas y químicas de los contaminantes y las características hidrogeológicas del acuífero. en_US
dc.description.graduationSemester Spring en_US
dc.description.graduationYear 2022 en_US
dc.description.sponsorship National Institute of Health-Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT) Superfund Research Program Center [Grant No. P42ES017198] National Science Foundation [Grant No. 1061124] Ford Foundation Fellowship Program. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.rights Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 United States *
dc.rights.holder (c) 2022 Norma I. Torres Torres en_US
dc.rights.uri *
dc.subject Karst aquifer en_US
dc.subject Groundwater contamination en_US
dc.subject Puerto Rico en_US
dc.subject GIS en_US
dc.subject Statistical methods en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Karst conservation – Puerto Rico en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Aquifers – Puerto Rico en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Volatile organic compounds – Puerto Rico en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Phthalate esters – Puerto Rico en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Nitrates - Environmental aspects – Puerto Rico en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Groundwater – Pollution - Puerto Rico en_US
dc.title Effects of hydrogeological and anthropogenic factors on the distribution of emerging and legacy contaminants in the karst groundwater systems en_US
dc.type Dissertation en_US
dspace.entity.type Publication Civil Engineering en_US Ph.D. en_US
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