• Hydrochemical Investigation for Site Characterization: Focusing on the Application of Principal Component Analysis
  • Soonyoung Yu1*·Han-Suk Kim1·Seong-Chun Jun2·Jong Hwa Yi2·Seong-Taek Yun3·Man Jae Kwon3·Ho Young Jo3

  • 1Smart Subsurface Environment Management (Smart-SEM) Research Center, Korea University, Seoul 02841, Korea
    2GeoGreen21 Co. Ltd., 55 Digital-ro 33-gil, Guro-gu, Seoul 08376, Korea
    3Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Korea University, Seoul 02841, Korea

  • 부지특성화을 위한 지하수의 수리화학 특성 연구: 주성분 분석을 중심으로
  • 유순영1*·김한석1·전성천2·이종화2·윤성택3·권만재3·조호영3

  • 1고려대학교 스마트지중환경관리기술연구단
    3고려대학교 지구환경과학과

  • This article is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Principal component analysis (PCA) was conducted using hydrochemical data in four testbeds (A to D) built for the development of site characterization technologies to assess the hydrochemical processes controlling the hydrochemistry in each site. The PCA results indicated the nitrogen loading to deep bedrock aquifers through permeable fractures in Testbed A, the chemical weathering enhanced with the biodegradation of petroleum hydrocarbons in Testbed B, the reductive dechlorination in Testbed C, and the different hydrochemistry depending on the depth to bedrock in Testbed D, consistent with the characteristics of each site. In Testbeds B and D, outliers seemed to affect the PCA result probably due to the small number of samples, whereas the PCA result was still consistent with site characteristics. This study result indicates that the PCA is widely applicable to hydrochemical data for the assessment of major hydrochemical processes in contamination sites, which is useful for site characterization when combined with other site characterization technologies, e.g., geological survey, geophysical investigation, borehole logging. It is suggested that PCA is applied in contaminated sites to interpret hydrochemical data not only for the distribution of contamination levels but also for the assessment of major hydrochemical processes and contamination sources.

Keywords: Hydrochemistry, Site characterization, Principal component analysis (PCA), Hydrochemical processes, Sources

This Article

  • 2022; 27(S1): 34-50

    Published on Jul 31, 2022

  • 10.7857/JSGE.2022.27.S.034
  • Received on Jun 1, 2022
  • Revised on Jun 24, 2022
  • Accepted on Jul 5, 2022

Correspondence to

  • Soonyoung Yu
  • Smart Subsurface Environment Management (Smart-SEM) Research Center, Korea University, Seoul 02841, Korea

  • E-mail: iamysy@korea.ac.kr