Delineation of necroleachate pathways using electrical resistivity tomography (ERT): Case study on a cemetery in Brazil

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Cemeteries can be considered as potential sources of soil and groundwater contamination in burial sites where there is no collection and treatment system for necroleachate, an effluent rich in organic matter and inorganic elements produced during the decomposition of corpses. Brazilian cemeteries are mostly located in the interior of cities, where collective or family deposits with the absence of necroleachate collection devices predominates. The tropical climate, the recurrence, and the distribution of corpses, combined with soil permeability, are decisive elements in the percolation and distribution of necroleachate in the subsurface. An important tool for the diagnosis and evaluation of organic and inorganic contamination in soil and shallow aquifers is geophysics, through research methods related to the contrast of physical properties in the presence of this type of contaminant. This research consists of a geophysical investigation in a medium-sized cemetery in the southeastern Brazil, using the DC resistivity method using three different electrodes arrays: Wenner, Schlumberger and Dipole-Dipole. Additionally, results were combined with the history of burials in the 5 years prior to the geophysical study. The 2D inversion models confirm the presence of low resistivity anomalies related to the presence of ionic compounds. 3D visualization models with results of the three acquisition arrays are compared to the amount of burial by compartmentalized areas of the cemetery, which clearly reveals a relationship of areas with high and recent recurrence of burials and areas of low resistivity in depth. The results do not present significant differences between arrays, with similarities in terms of location and dimension of the most significant areas of low resistivity.




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Environmental Challenges, v. 5.

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