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Title: An Assessment of Groundwater Contamination Risk with Radon Based on Clustering and Structural Models
Authors: Martins, Lisa
Pereira, Alcides 
Oliveira, Alcino 
Fernandes, António
Sanches Fernandes, Luís Filipe
Pacheco, Fernando António Leal 
Keywords: groundwater; rocks; radon production potential; granitoids; metasediments
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: MDPI
Project: This research was funded by the INTERACT project—“Integrated Research in Environment, Agro-Chain and Technology”, no. NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000017, in its line of research entitled BEST, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through NORTE 2020 (North Regional Operational Program 2014/2020). For authors integrated into the CITAB research centre, it was further financed by the FEDER/COMPETE/POCI—Operational Competitiveness and Internationalization Programme, under Project POCI-01-0145-FEDER-006958, and by National Funds of FCT–Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, under the project UID/AGR/04033/2019. For the author integrated into the CQVR, the research was additionally supported by National Funds of FCT–Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, under the project UID/QUI/00616/2019. 
Serial title, monograph or event: Water (Switzerland)
Volume: 11
Issue: 5
Abstract: There is currently some controversy in the scientific community regarding the e ciency of the water–rock interaction process in the contamination of radon in groundwater. In this study, some di culties were found in the sampling phase. Many of the water collection points are used for human consumption. As such, some municipalities did not want to collaborate. When this natural contaminant is undetectable to the human sense and may cause pulmonary neoplasms in the long term, it is di cult to obtain collaboration from the municipalities concerned. To overcome this controversy, it is important to understand that geogenic, climatic, hydrological, and topographic features may contribute to the e ective transfer of radon from rocks to groundwater. In brief, this new approach combines the radon transfer from the geological substrate to the groundwater circulation through hierarchic agglomerative clustering (HAC) and partial least squares-path modeling (PLS-PM) methods. The results show that some lithologies with higher radon production may not always contribute to noticeable groundwater contamination. In this group, the high-fracturing density confirms the recharge e ciency, and the physical-chemical properties of the hydraulic environment (electric conductivity) plays the main role of radon unavailability in the water intended for human consumption. Besides, the hydraulic turnover time of the springs can be considered an excellent radiological indicator in groundwater. In the absence of an anomalous radioactive source near the surface, it means that the high-turnover time of the springs leads to a low-radon concentration in the water. Besides linking high-risk areas with a short period required to free local flow discharges, this study exposes the virtues of a new perspective of a groundwater contamination risk modeling.
ISSN: 2073-4441
DOI: 10.3390/w11051107
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:I&D CGUC - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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