ARPHA Conference Abstracts : Conference Abstract
Conference Abstract
Groundwater contamination and human health risk assessment in the main karst areas of Romania
expand article infoAna Moldovan, Anamaria Iulia Torok, Eniko Kovacs, Ionut-Cornel Mirea§, Erika Levei, Oana Teodora Moldovan|,
‡ INCDO-INOE 2000, Research Institute for Analytical Instrumentation, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
§ ''Emil Racovita'' Institute of Speleology, Bucharest, Romania
| Emil Racovitza Institute of Speleology, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
¶ Romanian Institute of Science and Technology, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Open Access


Long-term monitoring reveals the temporal evolution of groundwater chemistry and the potential human health risk posed by the use of contaminated waters (Giri and Singh 2015). Groundwater aquifers are an important source of drinking water in Romania. This study was conducted to appraise the groundwater chemistry and the potential non-carcinogenic risks for human health associated with the groundwater consumption through oral and dermal pathways. In order to achieve this aim, 193 samples were collected from 29 groundwater sources in the main karst areas of Romania during 2019-2021. A total of 15 parameters were analyzed (F-, Cl-, SO42-, NO3, Ca, Na, K, Mg, Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, Ni, Cr, and As) and compared with the World Health Organization standards for drinking water (WHO 2017). The heavy metals pollution index showed that no groundwater samples had detectable levels of metal contamination, while the heavy metal evaluation index revealed that 4 out of 29 groundwater sources were classified as contaminated: 3 sources with a medium level of pollution and 1 source with a high level of pollution, indicating a potential risk for human health. The human health risk for oral exposure indicated a potential non-carcinogenic risk only in the karst area from South Dobrogea. The non-carcinogenic risk posed by nitrates is higher than that posed by metals in the aquifers from South Dobrogea. Therefore, control and remedial actions should be taken to ensure appropriate water quality for the locals using the contaminated water sources.


karst water, health risk assessment, groundwater chemistry

Presenting author

Ana Moldovan

Presented at

Proceedings of the 25th International Conference on Subterranean Biology (Cluj-Napoca, 18-22 July 2022)


This research leading to these results has received funding from the EEA grants 2014–2021, under Project GROUNDWATERISK, contract no. 4/2019.

Funding program

EEA Financial Mechanism 2014–2021

Grant title

Project GROUNDWATERISK “Monitoring and risk assessment for groundwater sources in rural communities of Romania (project number EEA-RO-NO-2018-0138 contract No. 4/2019).

Hosting institution

Emil Racovitza Institute of Speleology, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Author contributions

Conceptualization, A.M., E.A.L. and O.T.M.; methodology, A.M. and A.I.T.; ; analysis, A.M., A.I.T. and E.K.; writing—original draft preparation, A.M., I.C.M. E.A.L.; writing—review and editing, E.A.L. and O.T.M.; visualization, I.C.M., A.M. and A.I.T.; funding acquisition, O.T.M. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

Conflicts of interest

None declared