Constraining age distributions of groundwater from public supply wells in diverse hydrogeological settings in Scania, Sweden

Åkesson, Maria; Suckow, Axel; Visser, Ate; Sültenfuβ, Jürgen; Laier, Troels; Purtschert, Roland; Sparrenbom, Charlotte J. (2015). Constraining age distributions of groundwater from public supply wells in diverse hydrogeological settings in Scania, Sweden. Journal of hydrology, 528, pp. 217-229. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.06.022

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Twenty-five public supply wells throughout the hydrogeologically diverse region of Scania, southern Sweden are subjected to environmental tracer analysis (³H–³He,⁴He, CFCs, SF₆ and for one well only also ⁸⁵Kr and ³⁹Ar) to study well and aquifer vulnerability and evaluate possibilities of groundwater age distribution assessment. We find CFC and SF₆ concentrations well above solubility equilibrium with modern atmosphere, indicating local contamination, as well as indications of CFC degradation. The tracer-specific complications considerably constrain possibilities for sound quantitative regional ground- water age distribution assessment and demonstrate the importance of initial qualitative assessment of tracer-specific reliability, as well a need for additional, complementary tracers (e.g. ⁸⁵Kr,³⁹Ar and potentially also ¹⁴C). Lumped parameter modelling yields credible age distribution assessments for representative wells in four type aquifers. Pollution vulnerability of the aquifer types was based on the selected LPM models and qualitative age characterisation. Most vulnerable are unconfined dual porosity and fractured bedrock aquifers, due to a large component of very young groundwater. Unconfined sedimentary aquifers are vulnerable due to young groundwater and a small pre-modern component. Less vulnerable are semi-confined sedimentary or dual-porosity aquifers, due to older age of the modern component and a larger pre-modern component. Confined aquifers appear least vulnerable, due an entirely pre-modern groundwater age distribution (recharged before 1963). Tracer complications aside, environmental tracer
analyses and lumped parameter modelling aid in vulnerability assessment and protection of regional groundwater resources.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics

UniBE Contributor:

Purtschert, Roland


500 Science > 530 Physics








Doris Rätz

Date Deposited:

22 Jan 2016 10:28

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:51

Publisher DOI:





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