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Mineral resources of Poland> Rock raw materials and others> Brines, curative and thermal water
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Brines, curative and thermal water

According to the Act of 9 June 2011 Geological and Mining Law (Official Journal 2016, item 1131, uniform text with subsequent amendments) brines, curative or thermal waters as opposed to fresh groundwaters are considered as minerals on the basis of their specific physical and chemical properties.

Before the Act of 9 June 2011 Geological and Mining Law was implemented, the number of brines, curative and thermal waters was specified in the Ordinance of 14 February 2006 of the Council of Ministers about groundwater deposits classified as brines, curative and thermal waters and others curative minerals and also about classifying some deposits of common minerals to basic minerals (Official Journal No. 32, item 220, with subsequent amendments). Now after outlawing this ordinance only those brines, curative and thermal waters are minerals which meet the requirements of Geological and Mining Law, wherein according to the Act (article 203 paragraph 1) brines, curative and thermal waters considered as minerals in the light of the previous regulations keep their status.

Brine: groundwater with total solid dissolved minerals at least 35 g/dm3. According to the Ordinance of the Council of Ministers only the deposit in Łapczyca in Małopolskie voivodeship is classified as brine. This brine, occurring in Miocene sandstone formation, is used for therapeutic and bath salt production. Groundwater with similar composition (strongly mineralized waters of Cl-Na or Cl-Na-Ca type) are common in the area of Polish Lowlands. They occur in very deep formations, at depth of some thousand meters.

Curative water: Agroundwater with no chemical and microbiological contamination, with natural diversity of physical and chemical properties, meeting at least one of the following requirements:

  • total solid dissolved mineral content at least 1,000 mg/dm3,
  • ferrous ion content – at least 10 mg/dm3 (ferruginous waters),
  • fluoride ion content – at least 2 mg/dm3 (fluoride waters),
  • iodine ion content – at least 1 mg/dm3 (iodide waters),
  • bivalent sulphur ion content – at least 1 mg/dm3 (sulphide waters),
  • meta-silicic acid content – at least 70 mg/dm3 (silicic waters),
  • radon content – at least 74 Bq (radon waters),
  • carbon dioxide content – at least 250 mg/dm3 (250-1,000 mg/dm3 carbonic acid waters, > 1,000 mg/dm3 carbonated water),

Most of curative waters occur in towns of southern Poland, in Sudetes and Carpathian region (together with Carpathian Depression). Over 70% of health resorts and towns with curative waters are located in this area. The rest of deposits occur in Western Pomerania and in Polish Lowlands. Curative waters are used mainly for balneotherpy in 42 health resorts and other towns (Dobrowoda, Las Winiarski, Marusza, Krzeszowice, Szczawa, Wełnin) and bottling purposes (i.e. Krynica-Zdrój, Muszyna, Piwniczna-Zdrój, Andrzejówka, Jastrzębik, Milik, Powroźnik, Wojkowa, Złockie, Zubrzyk, Szczawa, Szczawnik, Tylicz, Wysowa, Polanica-Zdrój, Busko-Zdrój, Ciechocinek, Inowrocław, Kołobrzeg, Rymanów-Zdrój, Kraków-Swoszowice, Szczawnica, Szczawno-Zdrój, Gorzanów) but also for salt, lye and mud production and pharmaceutic preparations (i.e. Busko-Zdrój, Ciechocinek, Iwonicz-Zdrój, Rabka-Zdrój, Goczałkowice-Zdrój, Kołobrzeg, Lądek-Zdrój, Połczyn-Zdrój, Rymanów-Zdrój, Dębowiec, Zabłocie). In Krynica-Zdroj and Duszniki-Zdroj natural carbon dioxide is obtained from curative waters.

Potentially curative waters, i.e. mineralised (with total solid dissolved minerals over 1,000 mg/dm3) and specific groundwaters, not considered as curative, occur commonly in Poland at various depths, more often deeper than ordinary waters. The variety of chemical composition of these waters (fig. 1) is caused by diversity of geological and hydrogeological conditions. The following types are distinguished:

  • strongly mineralised chloride waters, mainly of Cl-Na, often J type, thermal
  • medium mineralised, bicarbonate waters, mainly of HCO3-Ca-(Mg), sometimes with Fe and saturated with CO2
  • medium or low mineralised sulphate and sulphide waters,
  • specific waters waters of various mineralization (Fe, F, J, S, H2SiO3, Rn, CO2, thermal).
Fig. 1 Occurrence of particular chemical types of curative and mineralised waters

Thermal water: groundwater having the temperature of 20oC at the outflow. Taking the purpose of exploitation into consideration, the waters for heating and recreation purposes are considered as thermal waters.

Thermal waters in Poland occur in the area of Polish Lowlands within the large reservoirs of regional importance, also in Carpathians and Sudetes where the deposits are mainly small basins (Podhale) or are limited to tectonic zones. (fig. 2).

Fig. 2 Occurrence of thermal waters in Poland

In the area of Polish Lowlands, thermal waters from Lower Cretaceous and Lower Jurassic formations are the most perspective for use. They occur in widespread hydrogeological basins. In Carpathians thermal waters occur especially in Cretaceous, Paleogene and Neogene formations and also in Devonian and Triassic deposits of Podhale Trough, which is characterized by small area and strong tectonic influence. In the Carpathians Forehead, thermal waters occur in Cambrian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Jurassic, Cretaceous and Miocene formations. In Sudetes the most perspective formation is Carboniferous aquifer in the vicinity of Jelenia Góra. Strong tectonically involved Carboniferous magmatic and metamorphic rocks are her thermal water collector. Thermal waters are also in Lądek-Zdrój, Duszniki-Zdrój and Grabin in the vicinity of Niemodlin. Thermal waters are used for heating (Podhale, Mszczonów, Uniejów, Pyrzyce, Stargard, Poddębice), relaxation (i.e. Zakopane, Szaflary, Bukowina Tatrzańska, Białka Tatrzańska, Uniejów, Mszczonów, Poznań, Cieplice Śląskie-Zdrój) and balneologic purposes (Uniejów).

Waters from mine dewatering are not considered as brines or thermal waters.

The presented balance for the year 2016 includes the data about disposable resources and reserves, the amount of brines, curative and thermal waters output. The balance sheet comprises these deposits which are registered in MIDAS and Bank Wód Podziemnych Zaliczonych do Kopalin MINERALNE databases. The balance was worked out on the basis of users’ reports collected by Polish Geological Institute-National Research Institute in Warsaw. The data was divided not only according to Paczyński and Płochniewski hydrogegological units division (1996) (table 1) but also according to Polish districts division (table 2).

In 2016 reserves of groundwaters classified as minerals were calculated as 5,995.80 m3/h in 135 deposits. In comparison to previous year the resources has increased of about 166.42 m3/h. In the analyzed period appropriate marshals of voivodeships (item 1-7 and 9-17) and the Minister of the Environment (item. 8) approved/accepted the following hydrogeological reports for reserves determination of thermal and curative waters:

  • 1. „Annex no. 5 to hydrogeological documentation for exploitation discharge determination of curative waters in Goczałkowice”, prepared due to change in exploitation parameters of the intakes (change of the intake drawdown).
  • 2. “Hydrogeological documentation for liquidation of Grunwald spring in Muszyna”, showing the results of liquidation curative water intake.
  • 3. “Hydrogeological documentation for exploitation discharge determination of curative waters from Marcin II intake in Złockie”, prepared due to exploitation discharge determination for a new intake.
  • 4. “Hydrogeological documentation for exploitation discharge determination of curative water from Paleogene deposits from P-6 and P-7 intakes together with actualization of exploitation discharge for WK-1, P-1A and P-2 intakes in Muszyna”, prepared due to exploitation discharge determination for a new intakes with change in exploitation discharge of the existing intakes within deposit.
  • 5. “Annex no. 1 to hydrogeological documentation for exploitation discharge determination of mineral waters from Permian deposits used for curative purposes in Ustka (Ustka IGH-1 intake)”, prepared due to starting exploitation not-used intake and change in exploitation discharge.
  • 6. “Hydrogeological documentation for exploitation discharge determination of thermal waters from lower Jurassic deposits from Konin GT-1 intake in Konin (Pociejewo Island)”, prepared due to exploitation discharge determination of an intake within new deposit of thermal waters.
  • 7. “Hydrogeological documentation for exploitation discharge determination of curative waters from Paleogene deposits from OB-1 intake in Muszyna”, prepared due to exploitation discharge determination for a new curative water intake.
  • 8. “Hydrogeological documentation for exploitation discharge determination of curative waters from Wiktor intake in Żegiestów”, prepared due to exploitation discharge determination for a new curative water intake.
  • 9. “Hydrogeological documentation for exploitation discharge determination of curative waters from K-7 intake together with actualization of exploitation level in K-8 intake in Krynica-Zdrój for ZPHU INEX Ltd.”, prepared due to exploitation discharge determination for a not-used intake within existing deposit and verification of exploitation parameters of one of existing curative waters intake.
  • 10. “Hydrogeological documentation for exploitation discharge determination of curative waters from K-11 intake in Powroźnik for ZPHU INEX Ltd.”, prepared due to exploitation discharge determination for a new intake.
  • 11. “Hydrogeological documentation for exploitation discharge determination of curative waters from 9M and 10M intakes in Gorzanów”, prepared due to exploitation discharge determination for a not-used intakes within the existing deposit.
  • 12. “Hydrogeological documentation for exploitation discharge determination of curative waters from IN-4 intake in Muszyna for ZPHU INEX Ltd.”, prepared due to exploitation discharge determination for a new intake within existing deposit.
  • 13. “Hydrogeological documentation for exploitation discharge determination of curative waters from PK-1 (St. Martin) intake in Krzeszowice for Rehabilitation Centre”, prepared due to exploitation discharge determination for a new intake within existing deposit.
  • 14. “Hydrogeological documentation for exploitation discharge determination of curative waters from Anna and Anna II intakes in Muszyna”, prepared due to exploitation discharge determination for a new intake within existing deposit together with actualization exploitation discharge of another intake.
  • 15. “Hydrogeological documentation for exploitation discharge determination of curative waters from Paleogene deposits from P-8 intake in Muszyna”, prepared due to exploitation discharge determination for a new intake within existing deposit.
  • 16. “Geological documentation of a liquidated P-20 borehole in Piwniczna-Zdrój”, presenting the results of executed works of liquidation recognition borehole for curative water intake.
  • 17. “Hydrogeological documentation for exploitation discharge determination of curative waters from Z-2 intake in Żegiestów and Z-3 intake in Zubrzyk for ZPHU INEX Ltd.”, prepared due to exploitation discharge determination for non-documented intakes within a new curative waters deposit.

In 2016 the Ministry of the Environment approved 2 hydrogeological documentation for disposable resources determination:

  • 1. „Hydrogeological documentation for disposable resources determination of curative waters in Iwonicz Zdrój-Rudawka Rymanowska antycline”.
  • 2. „Hydrogeological documentation for disposable resources determination of curative waters in Wilga river catchment – Swoszowice area”.

The amount of brines, curative and thermal waters intake in 2016 was calculated on 12,487,639.00 m3/year. In comparison to the previous year it has increased of about 298,567.81 m3.

Notice: in case of springs and artesian flows, only amount of used waters is given, not total amount of outflowing water.

Prepared by: L. Skrzypczyk, J. Sokołowski