WIT Press

Environmental Hazard And Water Quality: The River Platani Basin


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WIT Press


V. Liguori & G. Manno


The River Platani, situated in the western side of Sicily, is one of the greatest rivers of the island. It runs for about 103 Km and the basin extends to about 1,784.9 Km2. It rises near Santo Stefano Quisquina (Ag); the river flows to Capo Bianco (Ag) ends in the Mediterranean Sea. The morphology of the basin is predominantly characterized by rises of modest entities with slopes sweet or calanques. In the containing gypsum and carbonatic stony heaps are diffused the karst phenomena. In the Platani basin some mines are located of rock salt and potassium salts; today the mines are closed after a long activity and they interact with the geomorphology of the territory and on the water quality of the river. An example is given by the ex mine \“Muti-Coffari” (Ag), in fact the mine determines an evident incidence on the physical-chemical characteristics of the water and the fluvial ecosystem. Where the \“sinkholes” are present, caused by the incessant thinning of the vault and pillars of the mine’s tunnel, meteoric water penetrates inside, flooding all the underground levels; the waters, through different chemical process, attach the evaporitics rocks and they have a concentration of salts. Consequently, because of the flooding of the tunnels, the saturated salt waters escape from the entrance of the mines to flow into the River Plantain. Through the monitoring of the principal branch of the River Platani it can be deduced that the river can be considered constituted by two separate ecosysystems: the first goes from the source to the point of immission of the small affluent coming from the mine; the second extended from the salt mine up to the mouth. Observing the graphs products on the chemical-physical parameters evident as the element of separation is constituted by the immission of saturated salt water. After the immission of the Torrente Salina, the values of the sulphates, of the chlorides, and of the sodium, sensitively increase. The environmental aspect that derives is a hyper saltiness that affects the fluvial ecosystem, as a matter of fact a desertification of fertile areas where once there were very fertile cultivations. Keywords: river basin, ecology, environmental risk, water quality.


river basin, ecology, environmental risk, water quality.