Pollino National Park is located in southern Italy, at the regions of Basilicata and Calabria. The CrITERIA project focuses on the area nearby the Pollino national park, which is a delimited area within the Basilicata region, covering an area of 396.06 km with a total population of 17,526.

Geological map and CrITERIA sampling sites in Pollino area, Italy.

The studied springs are located in the Frido unit terrains. The aquifers consist of conglomerate, carbonates, metabasites, gneiss, and serpentinized ultramafic rocks. Generally, the aquifers are thin and laterally discontinuous, because the ultramafic rocks and gneiss are lenticular and limited in size occurring within impermeable terrains of the Frido Unit. The springs are generally located in contact with lower permeability terrains or along fractures. Springs are the main sources for the supply of the water network for the municipalities of the region. The annual supply of the water network is estimated at 1,360,000 m3/y. It is noteworthy that 122 industries are operating in Pollino area including metallurgy, textile, food, mineral extraction and wood industries. A total of 3,500,000 m3/y of industrial water was estimated to be required in the area for the industrial activities, that is equal to 6.36‰ of the national industrial water consumption used by 6.87‰ of the national industrial companies.

The occurrence of Cr(VI) in groundwater of Pollino is an issue of high concern because according to the Italian legislation, the upper limit of Cr(VI) for drinking water is 5μg/L. As a result, it is required to investigate the origin of Cr(VI) in groundwater and assess the contribution of both geological background and industrial activities.