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Geofluids
Volume 2018, Article ID 9736260, 11 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/9736260
Research Article

Submerged Groundwater Discharges as Source of Fecal Material in Protected Karstic Coastal Areas

1Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzado del IPN-Mérida, Km 6, Antigua Carretera a Progreso, Cordemex, Mérida, YUC, Mexico
2Unidad de Química en Sisal, Facultad de Química, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Puerto de Abrigo, S/N, 97356 Sisal, YUC, Mexico
3Department of Environment and Energy, Sejong University, Seoul 143-747, Republic of Korea

Correspondence should be addressed to Flor Arcega-Cabrera; xm.manu@agecraf

Received 29 September 2017; Revised 28 December 2017; Accepted 4 February 2018; Published 5 March 2018

Academic Editor: Maurizio Polemio

Copyright © 2018 Cristian Kantun Manzano et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Coastal zones are vital for their ecosystem services and socioeconomic value. Accordingly, several zones have been protected to limit anthropogenic development and to avoid environmental degradation. Nevertheless, some of these protected areas keep deteriorating probably related with anthropogenic contributions not considered in legislation. Specifically, submerged groundwater discharges (springs) could be releasing anthropogenic materials carried from remote inland areas to the coast. Here we evaluate the role and temporal variation of submerged groundwater discharges as sources of anthropogenic materials using the 5-stanol C27 markers in the natural protected area of Dzilam de Bravo, Yucatán, Mexico. Results demonstrate that (1) submerged groundwater discharge flux velocity and direction vary between hydrological season, exhibiting higher flow rates in Nortes season contrary to dry season and (2) the presence of coprostanol and epicoprostanol (anthropogenic fecal matter markers) in sediments surrounding the submerged groundwater discharges provides proof of allochthonous anthropogenic fecal material in a protected area, probably from remote inland sites. Thus, it is vitally important that inland anthropogenic materials transported in groundwater and released in the coastal environment by submerged groundwater discharges be considered in protection plans, like protection perimeters, for coastal zones.