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01-05-2018 | Original Article | Issue 9/2018

Environmental Earth Sciences 9/2018

Statistical and geochemical assessment of groundwater quality in Teboursouk area (Northwestern Tunisian Atlas)

Journal:
Environmental Earth Sciences > Issue 9/2018
Authors:
Yosra Ayadi, Naziha Mokadem, Houda Besser, Belgacem Redhaounia, Faten Khelifi, Samia Harabi, Talel Nasri, Younes Hamed

Abstract

Teboursouk region, Northwestern Tunisia, is characterized by the diversity of its natural resources (petroleum, groundwater and minerals). It constitutes a particular site widely studied, especially from a tectonic stand point as it exhibits a complex architecture dominated by multi-scale synclinals and Triassic extrusions. It has typical karst landform that constitutes important water resources devoted for human consumption and agriculture activities, besides to the exploitation of the Mio-Plio-Quaternary aquifer (MPQ). Thus, hydrogeological investigations play a significant role in the assessment of groundwater mineralization and the evaluation of the used water quality for different purposes. Hence, the current study based on a combined geochemical–statistical investigation of 50 groundwater samples from the multilayered aquifer system in the study area give crucial information about the principal factors and processes influencing groundwater chemistry. The chemical analysis of the water samples showed that Teboursouk groundwater is dominantly of Ca–Mg–Cl–SO4 water type with little contribution of Ca–Mg–HCO3, Na–K–Cl–SO4 and Na–K–HCO3. The total dissolved solids (TDS) values range from 0.37 to 3.58 g/l. The highest values are located near the Triassic outcrops. Furthermore, the hydrogeochemistry of the studied system was linked with various processes such as carbonates weathering, evaporites dissolution of Triassic outcrops and anthropogenic activities (nitrate contamination). Additionally, the main processes controlling Teboursouk water system were examined by means of multivariate statistical analysis (PCA and HCA) applied in this study based on 10 physicochemical parameters (TDS, pH, SO4, HCO3, pCO2, Ca, Mg, Na, K, Cl and NO3). Two principal components were extracted from PCA accounting 61% of total variance and revealing that the chemical characteristics of groundwater in the region were acquired through carbonates and evaporite dissolution besides to nitrate contamination. Similarly, according to Cluster analysis using Ward’s method and squared Euclidean distance, groundwater from the studied basin belongs to five different groups suggesting that the geochemical evolution of Teboursouk groundwater is controlled by dissolution of carbonates minerals, chemical weathering of Triassic evaporite outcrops, cation exchange and anthropogenic activities (nitrate contamination).

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