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Impact of a storm-water infiltration basin on the recharge dynamics in a highly permeable aquifer

Impact of a storm-water infiltration basin on the recharge dynamics in a highly permeable aquifer
Impact of a storm-water infiltration basin on the recharge dynamics in a highly permeable aquifer

Infiltration basins are increasingly used worldwide to both mitigate flood risk in urban areas and artificially recharge shallow aquifers. Understanding recharge dynamics controlling the quantity and quality of infiltrating water is required to correctly design and maintain these facilities. In this paper, we focus on quantitative aspects and analyze in detail the temporal evolution of infiltration rates in basins overlying highly permeable aquifers. In these settings, recharge is a complex process due to high recharge rate and volume, undetected soil hydraulic heterogeneity and topsoil clogging. A 16-ha infiltration basin in Northern Italy has been intensively characterized and monitored for over four years. Field and laboratory tests were performed to characterize soil hydraulic properties. An unsaturated-saturated numerical model was implemented to obtain additional quantitative information supporting experimental data. Results show a strong impact of the infiltration basin on natural recharge patterns. When properly maintained (no clogging of topsoil), estimated infiltration rates from the bottom of the basin are about fifty times higher than recharge under natural conditions in the same area. When the infiltration basin is not properly maintained, bioclogging progressively diminishes the infiltration capacity of the basin, which turns to have no impact on aquifer recharge. Recharge patterns are highly erratic and difficult to predict. We observed natural recharge rates of the order of 1 m/h and a poor correlation between recharge times and maximum intensity of rainfall events. Due to the complex behavior of the recharge, the numerical model (based on the classical Richards equation) is able to explain many but not all the observed recharge events. Macropores flow and Lisse effects on piezometric measurements may be responsible for the disagreement between model predictions and observations.

Clogging, Decision making, Heterogeneity, Infiltration basin, Lisse effect, Macropores, Storm water, Uncertainty
0920-4741
149-165
Masetti, Marco
c3d261b3-da8c-4040-8fea-bc4389542c42
Pedretti, Daniele
ef1d0235-e0a9-48ba-a9f6-4a9ae4b615fb
Sorichetta, Alessandro
c80d941b-a3f5-4a6d-9a19-e3eeba84443c
Stevenazzi, Stefania
76b1cf02-d2c9-4923-b5e8-cd331bb232e1
Bacci, Federico
07179d74-a93d-4698-8a26-ee68ce34c5fa
Masetti, Marco
c3d261b3-da8c-4040-8fea-bc4389542c42
Pedretti, Daniele
ef1d0235-e0a9-48ba-a9f6-4a9ae4b615fb
Sorichetta, Alessandro
c80d941b-a3f5-4a6d-9a19-e3eeba84443c
Stevenazzi, Stefania
76b1cf02-d2c9-4923-b5e8-cd331bb232e1
Bacci, Federico
07179d74-a93d-4698-8a26-ee68ce34c5fa

Masetti, Marco, Pedretti, Daniele, Sorichetta, Alessandro, Stevenazzi, Stefania and Bacci, Federico (2016) Impact of a storm-water infiltration basin on the recharge dynamics in a highly permeable aquifer. Water Resources Management, 30 (1), 149-165. (doi:10.1007/s11269-015-1151-3).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Infiltration basins are increasingly used worldwide to both mitigate flood risk in urban areas and artificially recharge shallow aquifers. Understanding recharge dynamics controlling the quantity and quality of infiltrating water is required to correctly design and maintain these facilities. In this paper, we focus on quantitative aspects and analyze in detail the temporal evolution of infiltration rates in basins overlying highly permeable aquifers. In these settings, recharge is a complex process due to high recharge rate and volume, undetected soil hydraulic heterogeneity and topsoil clogging. A 16-ha infiltration basin in Northern Italy has been intensively characterized and monitored for over four years. Field and laboratory tests were performed to characterize soil hydraulic properties. An unsaturated-saturated numerical model was implemented to obtain additional quantitative information supporting experimental data. Results show a strong impact of the infiltration basin on natural recharge patterns. When properly maintained (no clogging of topsoil), estimated infiltration rates from the bottom of the basin are about fifty times higher than recharge under natural conditions in the same area. When the infiltration basin is not properly maintained, bioclogging progressively diminishes the infiltration capacity of the basin, which turns to have no impact on aquifer recharge. Recharge patterns are highly erratic and difficult to predict. We observed natural recharge rates of the order of 1 m/h and a poor correlation between recharge times and maximum intensity of rainfall events. Due to the complex behavior of the recharge, the numerical model (based on the classical Richards equation) is able to explain many but not all the observed recharge events. Macropores flow and Lisse effects on piezometric measurements may be responsible for the disagreement between model predictions and observations.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 17 September 2015
e-pub ahead of print date: 1 October 2015
Published date: 1 January 2016
Keywords: Clogging, Decision making, Heterogeneity, Infiltration basin, Lisse effect, Macropores, Storm water, Uncertainty

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 430879
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/430879
ISSN: 0920-4741
PURE UUID: 3c5ef9be-c2d2-4efb-b817-ece2bbea15c8
ORCID for Alessandro Sorichetta: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3576-5826

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 16 May 2019 16:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 02:05

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