Developing a Threat Assessment and Monitoring Framework for Urban Karst Groundwater Management

Monday, December 3, 2018: 2:40 p.m.
N117 (Las Vegas Convention Center)
Rachel Kaiser , Center for Human GeoEnvironmental Studies, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY
Jason Polk, Ph.D. , Center for Human GeoEnvironmental Studies, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY

In urban karst areas, such as the City of Bowling Green, Kentucky (CoBG) and the Tampa Bay Metropolitan Area (TBMA), groundwater quality faces a variety of threats. The development of residential, commercial, and industrial landuse types allows for a wide variety of groundwater pollutants to enter the karst groundwater systems. Various different models and indices, including the Karst Disturbance Index (KDI), Karst Aquifer Vulnerability Index (KAVI), and the Karst Sustainability Index (KSI), have attempted evaluative approaches to identify issues in urban karst areas, but the methods vary by location and lack a focus on urban karst groundwater quality, as well as a lack of a data-driven approach that is able to capture short- and long-term changes in threats to groundwater quality as a result of urbanization. The overall purpose of this study was to develop a holistic, data-driven threat assessment and monitoring framework for urban karst groundwater systems to better determine the possible threats, data collection needs, monitoring parameters, and analytical approaches needed to ensure groundwater quality is maintained in urban karst regions. This study focused on: 1) determining what indicators, parameters, and data quality need to be prioritized to create an effective, holistic monitoring framework for urban karst groundwater, and 2) developing an effective threat assessment and evaluative framework for urban karst groundwater quality sites using historic and modern data in an urban karst setting. The outcomes include an index and evaluation tool review, historical data evaluation and review, a threat and monitoring evaluation system for the urban karst landscapes using GIS and a Karst Feature Inventory (KFI), and primary data collection in the City of Bowling Green on water quality parameters. The final results of this study will be used to create a data-driven urban karst groundwater threat assessment and monitoring framework that can be used universally.
Rachel Kaiser, Center for Human GeoEnvironmental Studies, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY
Rachel Kaiser is a graduate student in the Department of Geography and Geology at Western Kentucky University (WKU). She serves as President of the WKU Water Professional student organization, a chapter of the American Water Works Association/Water Environment Federation. Rachel also works an analyst at HydroAnalytical, a commercial water quality lab affiliated with WKU and is passionate about stormwater quality and karst aquifer resources, which are the focus of her thesis research.


Jason Polk, Ph.D., Center for Human GeoEnvironmental Studies, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY
Jason S. Polk, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Geography and Geology at Western Kentucky University. He also is the Director of the Center for Human GeoEnvironmental Studies (CHNGES) and HydroAnalytical Lab. Dr. Polk earned his doctorate degree from the University of South Florida in Geography and Environmental Science and Policy. Dr. Polk's current research investigates water resources and sustainability, isotope hydrology and geochemistry, karst resource management, and climate change in tropical/subtropical environments.