Flow-through brackish gravel pit lakes near the Adriatic Coast of Emilia Romagna (Italy) in the Mediterranean have a large influence on the hydrologic budget of the watershed. Strong evaporation in combination with intense drainage of the low lying basins enhances groundwater inflow into the lake. Precipitation falling on the lakes is mixed with brackish/saline lake water causing the loss of freshwater. The gravel pit lakes are characterized by a high salinity (TDS = 4.6-12.3 g L"1) and high pH (8.5). Stable isotope data show that gravel pit lake water is fed by groundwater which is a mix of Apennine River water and (Holocene) Adriatic Seawater, subsequently enriched by evaporation. The slope of the local evaporation line is 5.4. Conservative tracer and water budget modeling shows that the final Cl concentration depends strongly on the ratio of evaporation to total inflow. Increasing drainage to compensate for sea level rise, subsidence or intense precipitation would enhance ground water flow into the lake and decrease Cl concentration while increasing evaporation would increase Cl concentration. Groundwater rich in dissolved trace elements flows into the gravel pit lakes that contains water with a higher pH and dissolved oxygen. Pit lake water remains enriched in some elements (e.g., Ba, Mo, Sb) and depleted in others (e.g., Fe, Ca, Zn, SO4) with respect to groundwater composition. The gravel pit lakes show limited eutrophication but the water quality should be monitored for trace elements (e.g., As) if they are to be used for recreational purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2009-2025
Number of pages17
JournalLimnology and Oceanography
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ID: 29777539