information on

artesian wells

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About the quality of water from artesian wells                                                               There are more than 160 artesian wells (in Russian: "skwashene") in Kiev which should provide good  drinking water quality for the habitants of the Ukrainian capital. They deliver groundwater from different layers with depths between about 90 and 350 m. Water from such deep layers should be rather old and not contaminated at all, but sometimes fissures cut the underground leading to a real risk for the water quality because contamination can reach even deeper layers as shown below. Anyway, these water reservoirs are worthwhile being severely protected.

alternative drinking water source in Kiev  -  70 kB3 taps of the artesian well shown at the left hand side   -  70 kB

Click here for a better photo (262 kb)!

In general, water from the artesian wells has obviously a better quality (less organics, chlororganics and nitrates)  than water from the tap or compared to water from shallow village wells.

That water is rather warm (12 -15 oC), even in winter. The redox potentials (oxidation state) vary distinctly and sometimes a bad smell similar to rotten eggs (H2S) can be detected.  This type of smell usually has natural reasons and lasts only a few minutes. Other natural compounds can also occur in high concentrations above drinking water limits;  information was published by the Institute of Colloid and Water Chemistry in Kiev.

Fortunately, nitrate  concentrations (NO3-N in the figure below) are usually low, the same is true for the organic load of this water (controlled by measurements of  SAC254 in 1/m). But exceptions are possible (see figure) - at least for some time. The reason for this is not always known.

The wells are officially controlled, but nevertheless, pollution already occurs and is not always detected. In a few cases, we have detected chlororganic compounds (up to 300 microgram AOX per litre - see figure!). As long as they have not yet been identified, one has to take into account that they are dangerous or even very dangerous for human health. (s. literature)! To get an official statement about the possible occurrence of those compounds, you should ask the city water authorities, Vodocanal and "SanEpidemStanzije", (SES).
Latest measurements in June 2000 showed that the problem still exists, the concentrations of chlororganics were however smaller than in former years.

The contamination of these water resources, because of more and more holes having been drilled into the underground (and possibly because of sewer leakage), is not  acceptable at all and would have been possible to avoid or at least to be minimised. The water authorities should recognise their responsibility for this fact. The official controls should include chlororganic and other toxic organic compounds and not only harmless substances like sulphate, carbonate etc. the concentration of which is indicated on tables above the well. This could perhaps help to regain the trust of the consumers.

Nevertheless, problems of tap water quality have to be solved in the water work (rather than drilling more and more holes)!!!

Box-Whisker plot of analytical ground water analyses  (4 kB)

Additional information for water experts:

EC = electr. conductivity given in mS/m;

NO3-N  (nitrate) is given as nitrogen in mg/L, but concentrations are usually < 1 mg/L;

SAC_254 (in 1/m) is the spectral absorption coefficient at 254 nm per meter; this measurement allows to estimate the organic load: if results > 10 1/m are detected, the type of load should be clarified.

AOX: adsorbable organic halogens in microgram/L Cl.
The plot shows the medium, 25% and 75% percentile and min./max. values
Analytical information sources are given in the
overview of methods 


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last update Jan 2014
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