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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 21, issue 11
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 5627–5646, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-21-5627-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 5627–5646, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-21-5627-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 15 Nov 2017

Research article | 15 Nov 2017

Hydrogeological effects of dredging navigable canals through lagoon shallows. A case study in Venice

Pietro Teatini1,2,3, Giovanni Isotton2, Stefano Nardean1, Massimiliano Ferronato1,2, Annamaria Mazzia1, Cristina Da Lio3, Luca Zaggia3, Debora Bellafiore3, Massimo Zecchin4, Luca Baradello4, Francisco Cellone5, Fabiana Corami6, Andrea Gambaro6,7, Giovanni Libralato7,8, Elisa Morabito6, Annamaria Volpi Ghirardini7, Riccardo Broglia9, Stefano Zaghi9, and Luigi Tosi3 Pietro Teatini et al.
  • 1Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Padua, via Trieste 63, 35121 Padua (PD), Italy
  • 2M3E S.r.l., via Giambellino 7, 35129 Padua (PD), Italy
  • 3Institute of Marine Sciences, National Research Council, Arsenale Tesa 104, Castello 2737/F, Venice 30122, Italy
  • 4National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics (OGS), Borgo Grotta Gigante 42/c, 34010 Sgonico (TS), Italy
  • 5Centro de Investigaciones Geologicas, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnicas, Diagonal 113 No. 275, B1904DPK, La Plata, Argentina
  • 6Institute of the Dynamics for the Environmental Processes, CNR-IDPA, Campus Scientifico, Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Via Torino, 155, 30172, Mestre-Venice, Italy
  • 7Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics, Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Via Torino, 155, 30172, Mestre-Venice, Italy
  • 8Department of Biology, University of Naples Federico II, Complesso Universitario di Monte S. Angelo, Via Cinthia ed. 7, 80126 Naples, Italy
  • 9CNR-INSEAN, National Research Council-Marine Technology Research Institute, Via di Vallerano 139, 00128 Rome, Italy

Abstract. For the first time a comprehensive investigation has been carried out to quantify the possible effects of dredging a navigable canal on the hydrogeological system underlying a coastal lagoon. The study is focused on the Venice Lagoon, Italy, where the port authority is planning to open a new 10 m deep and 3 km long canal to connect the city passenger terminal to the central lagoon inlet, thus avoiding the passage of large cruise ships through the historic center of Venice. A modeling study has been developed to evaluate the short (minutes), medium (months), and long (decades) term processes of water and pollutant exchange between the shallow aquifer system and the lagoon, possibly enhanced by the canal excavation, and ship wakes. An in-depth characterization of the lagoon subsurface along the channel has supported the numerical modeling. Piezometer and sea level records, geophysical acquisitions, laboratory analyses of groundwater and sediment samples (chemical analyses and ecotoxicity testing), and the outcome of 3-D hydrodynamic and computational fluid dynamic (CFD) models have been used to set up and calibrate the subsurface multi-model approach. The numerical outcomes allow us to quantify the groundwater volume and estimate the mass of anthropogenic contaminants (As, Cd, Cu, Cr, Hg, Pb, Se) likely leaked from the nearby industrial area over the past decades, and released into the lagoon from the canal bed by the action of depression waves generated by ships. Moreover, the model outcomes help to understand the effect of the hydrogeological layering on the propagation of the tidal fluctuation and salt concentration into the shallow brackish aquifers underlying the lagoon bottom.

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We investigate the effects of digging a navigable canal on the hydrogeological system underlying a coastal lagoon. The research has been promoted by the Venice Water Authority, which is investigating different possibilities to avoid the passage of large cruise ships through the historic center of Venice, Italy. Numerical simulations supported by a proper hydrogeological characterization show that the exchange of water and contaminants from the subsurface and surface systems will be significant.
We investigate the effects of digging a navigable canal on the hydrogeological system underlying...
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