GuEstNBL: The Software for the Guided Estimation of the Natural Background Levels of the Aquifers
Natural background levels (NBLs) for targeted chemical elements characterize a specific groundwater body, the knowledge of which represents a fundamental information for environmental agencies responsible for the protection, management, and remediation of territory. The large number of areas subject to strong anthropogenic pressures of a different nature and magnitude makes the job of control authorities particularly difficult. The process to distinguish effective anthropogenic contamination
... ic contamination from natural conditions and to define realistic environmental clean-up goals goes through the computation of several mutually dependent statistical methods, some of which have non-trivial resolution and interpretation. In this study, we presented a new tool designed to drive those working in the sector into an articulated path towards NBL assessment. The application software was developed in order to read environmental input data provided by a user-friendly web-based geographic information system (GIS) and to return the NBL estimate of a given chemical element following a wizard that allows for the implementation of two methodologies, i.e., component separation or pre-selection. The project was born from a collaboration between the Department of Environmental Engineering of the University of Calabria and the Department of Environmental Policies of the Calabria Region. The software was used to estimate NBLs in selected chemical species at potentially contaminated industrial sites located in Lamezia Terme, Italy. In the future, the developed calculation program will be the official evaluation tool of the Calabria Region for identifying groundwater thresholds.