A hydrogeological and microbiological study was carried out in Italy in order to verify the effectiveness of a DRASTIC-based method for groundwater vulnerability assessment in carbonate (fractured-karstified) aquifers. The research was developed: (a) by the monitoring of microbial contamination of two springs from January to July 2001 and from December 2002 to March 2003; and (b) by column tests in intact soil blocks, utilizing a collection strain of Enterococcus faecalis. The comparison of the vulnerability map with the results of the microbiological experiments demonstrated the effectiveness of the new DRASTIC-based method as a predictor of groundwater microbial contamination in carbonate aquifers. The effectiveness of the new proposed approach was verified and highlights the diversified role of the diffuse infiltration of precipitations through the fracture pattern and the more or less concentrated infiltration of surface water in karst areas.
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