2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 92-12
Presentation Time: 11:35 AM


SCHINDEL, Geary M., Edwards Aquifer Authority, 900 E. Quincy Street, San Antonio, TX 78215, gschindel@edwardsaquifer.org

Karst aquifers are one of the most vulnerable aquifer types to contamination. In comparison to other aquifer types, karst aquifers are noted for rapid recharge though sinkholes and sinking streams, groundwater velocities measured in kilometers per day, and little attenuation of contaminants. The release of hazardous materials into a karst terrain can result in a direct and rapid impact to groundwater resources and ultimately, to springs and rivers. Most industrialized and urbanized communities have well developed hazardous materials response (HAZMAT) teams to contain and mitigate environmental hazards. However, HAZMAT teams may not understand some of the unique aspects of karst terrains. This can result in unforeseen and potentially catastrophic consequences to groundwater resources and public health though contamination of groundwater and even potential explosive fumes in buildings.

This presentation identifies common sources of hazardous materials and recommendations for an overall hazardous materials release strategy. This includes preplanning and training with HAZMAT team professionals, identification of potential receptors, source water protection planning, and hazardous materials response strategies in karst.