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B and Li isotopes as intrinsic tracers for injection tests in aquifer storage and recovery systems

Abstract : Boron and Li isotopes have been tested as environmental tracers of treated sewage injected into a sandy aquifer (Shafdan reclamation project, Israel). During a 38 days injection test in a newly dug injection well, a conservative artificial tracer (Br−) was monitored together with δ11B and δ7Li in the injectate, in the unsaturated soil zone (porous cup) and an observation well in the aquifer. In spite of B and Li concentrations in the injectate close to background values, significant shifts of the isotope signatures could be observed over the duration of the injection test. Boron isotope ratios show a breakthrough curve delayed with respect to Br− breakthrough due to some reversible sorption on the aquifer material. No isotope fractionation was observed in the unsaturated or the saturated zone so that B isotopes can be considered as conservative in the investigated part of the aquifer system. Lithium isotopes are strongly fractionated, probably due to sorption processes. Lithium concentrations point to a Li sink in the system, δ7Li values vary strongly with a tendency of 7Li depletion in the liquid phase over the duration of the experiment. This is opposite to the expected preferential sorption of 6Li onto clay minerals. Boron isotopes reveals a valuable tracer of artificial recharge of freshwaters derived from treated sewage, both for short term tracer tests and for long-term monitoring of artificial recharge, even if in aquifers with higher clay contents, sorption-linked isotope fractionation cannot be excluded. More data are needed on Li isotope fractionation in natural groundwater systems to assess the potential of this tracer as monitoring tool.
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Contributeur : Maxime Haldric <>
Soumis le : lundi 6 septembre 2010 - 16:15:17
Dernière modification le : lundi 18 mai 2020 - 14:54:08




Wolfram Kloppmann, Haim Chikurel, Géraldine Picot-Colbeaux, Joseph Guttman, Marie Pettenati, et al.. B and Li isotopes as intrinsic tracers for injection tests in aquifer storage and recovery systems. Applied Geochemistry, Elsevier, 2009, 24 (7), p. 1214-1223. ⟨10.1016/j.apgeochem.2009.03.006⟩. ⟨hal-00515371⟩



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