The aim of this study was to examine the changes in the chemical composition of shallow groundwater and its quality that have occurred in the last decade in an agriculturally used, heavily populated and characterized by a complex geological structure, catchment of the Stara Rzeka river, located in the ﬂysch part of the Outer Carpathians. Water samples were collected during 2013 from 19 still operating wells. Analyses of pH, electrolytic conductivity and chemical composition by ion chromatography were conducted. The obtained results were compared with the results of studies conducted in 2003 for the same wells. The quality of groundwater and its suitability for consumption was assessed based on the regulations currently existing in Poland. 21% of the wells still do not meet the requirements for drinking water in terms of at least one component. However, there was a decrease in the concentration of mineral forms of nitrogen and phosphorus in most of the wells and their mean concentration as compared to 2003 was reduced. In terms of physical and chemical characteristics groundwater of this region is typical of the hypergenic zone of the temperate climate. The highest concentrations were observed for Ca2+ and HCO3- ions, while K+ and Cl- were characterized by the largest variability. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) demonstrated that the factors determining the quality and chemical composition of the analyzed waters include the composition of bedrock (mineralogy of the rock environment) and human economic activity, and that they have not been signiﬁcantly changed over the past decade.
Due to insufﬁcient operation efﬁciency, the studied treatment plant has undergone modernization. The aim of this study was to assess whether this modernization improved quality of the STP efﬂuent and water quality in the receiver. The research period of ﬁfty months covered time before and after the modernization. Samples were collected in four sites – upstream and downstream of the STP and by the sewage discharge. Electrolytic conductivity, water temperature and pH were measured onsite. Chemical analyzes were based on ion chromatography and determined the concentration of NH4+, NO3-, NO2-, PO43-, TDS. Microbiological analysis comprised serial dilutions to assess the number of mesophilic and psychrophilic bacteria and membrane ﬁltration to enumerate E. faecalis, total and fecal coliforms as well as total and fecal E. coli. Values of most analyzed parameters did not improve after the modernization, or improved for a very short period of time (NH4+), while some of them even increased, such as PO43-, total and thermotolerant coliforms and E. coli. The maximum value of thermotolerant E. coli reached nearly 7 million CFU/100 ml and was observed after modernization. Also at the sites situated downstream of the STP some of analyzed parameters increased. The conducted modernization did not improve the quality of treated sewage and even a further deterioration was observed. It could have been a result of rapidly growing number of tourists visiting the studied area, thus generating large amounts of sewage causing STP overload coupled with poor water and wastewater management. Signiﬁcant percentage of unregistered tourists hinders proper assessment of the STP target efﬁciency.