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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

In the terms of the Act of 4 February 1994 Geological and Mining Law (Official Journal 2005, No. 228, item 1947, with subsequent amendments), according to article 5 section 4, brines curative and thermal waters are minerals. This is due to their special advantages: their mineralization, physical and chemical properties, quantity and conditions of occurrence. In article 5, section 5 and 6, the Council of Ministers are authorized to specify by way of an ordinance the groundwater deposits classified as brines, curative and thermal waters.

According to 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) only one deposit is classified as brine and 72 deposits are classified as curative waters. All waters of any geological unit, having the temperature of 20oC at the outflow, are classified as thermal waters, excluding drainage waters from mining areas.

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: groundwater with no chemical and microbiological contamination, with natural diversity of physical and chemical properties, which meets 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 (250-999 mg/dm3 carbonic acid waters, ≥ 1,000 mg/dm3 carbonated water),

and occurs as deposits in the area of 72 health resorts and towns, mentioned in the Ordinance of the Council of Ministers. Curative waters are also all carbonic acid waters and carbonated waters of other deposits.

Most of curative waters occur in health resorts and towns of southern Poland, in Sudetes and Carpathian region (together with Carpathian Depression). Over 70 % of hearth 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 balneologic and bottling purposes (i.e. Krynica-Zdrój, Muszyna, Piwniczna-Zdrój, Wysowa, Polanica-Zdrój, Busko-Zdrój) but also for salt, lye and mud production (i.e. Ciechocinek, Dębowiec, Iwonicz-Zdrój).

In Poland, mineralised and specific groundwater (with mineralisation over 1,000 mg/dm3, Hydrogeological Dictionary, 2002) occur commonly at various depths, more often deeper than ordinary waters. The variety of chemical composition of these waters is caused by diversity of geological and hydrogeological conditions. The following types are distinguished:

  • chloride waters, mainly of Cl-Na, (J) type
  • bicarbonate waters, mainly of HCO3-Ca-(Mg), (Fe) type
  • specific waters: Fe, F, J, S, H2SiO3, Rn, CO2 , thermal.

Thermal water: groundwater in all geological units having the temperature of 20oC at the outflow, excluding drainage waters from mining areas.

Thermal waters in Poland occur in the area of Polish Lowlands, in Carpathians and Sudetes.

In the area of Polish Lowlands the most perspective for use are thermal waters from Lower Cretaceous and Lower Jurrasic formations, which occur in widespread hydrogeological basins (covered structures). In Carpathians thermal waters occur in Cretaceous, Paleogene and Neogene formations and also in Triassic deposits of Podhale Trough, which is characterized by small area and strong tectonic influence (i.e. Bańska, Biały Dunajec, Białka Tatrzańska, Bukowina Tatrzańska). 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 (Cieplice Śląskie-Zdrój). Thermal waters are also in Lądek-Zdrój, Duszniki-Zdrój and Grabin in the vicinity of Niemodlin. Thermal waters are used for heating, relaxation and balneologic purposes.

The presented balance for the year 2010 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 Bank HYDRO MINERALNE databases. The balance was worked out on the basis of users’ reports collected by Polish Geological Institute-National Research Institute up to the date of 31.05.2011. The data was divided not only according to Polish voivodeships division (table).

In 2010 reserves of groundwater classified as minerals were calculated as 4,047.64 m3/h. In the analyzed period Minister of the Environment approved the following hydrogeological documentations for reserves determination:

  • “Hydrogeological documentation for reserves determination for Poronin PAN-1 thermal water intake” (in polish);
    The documentation includes the update of reserves data of existing thermal waters intake in Poronin, Poronin commune. According to this documentation, the reserves decreased from 90 down to 70 m3/h.
  • “Hydrogeological documentation for reserves determination for Busko C-1 curative water intake from Cretaceous deposits” (in polish);
    The documentation determines the reserves for a new curative waters intake in Busko-Zdrój, Busko-Zdrój commune.
  • „Annex no. 1 to hydrogeological documentation for reserves determination of curative waters intake in Kamień Pomorski from Lower Jurassic deposits – substitute intake: Edward III and liquidation of the existing one: Edward II” (in polish);
    Annex to documentation determines the reserves for a new groundwater intake of curative waters in Kamień Pomorski, Kamień Pomorski commune. According to this annex, the reserves for a new groundwater intake are determined as equal to the existing one.
  • ”Hydrogeological documentation for reserves determination for no. 4 curative water intake in Wojkowa (Stupne Stream Valley)” (in polish);
    The documentation determines the reserves for a new curative waters intake in Wojkowa, Muszyna commune.
  • „Hydrogeological documentation for reserves determination of no. 4 curative water intake in Stary Wielisław” (in polish);
    This documentation includes the update of reserves of existing curative waters intake in Stary Wielisław, Kłodzko commune. According to this documentation, the reserves decreased from 21.5 down to 18.1 m3/h.

In 2010 Ministry of the Environment approved one hydrogeological documentation for disposable resources determination:

  • ”Hydrogeological documentation for disposable resources determination of curative waters of Rabka-Zdrój” (in polish).
    This documentation determines disposable resources of curative waters in Rabka-Zdrój, Rabka-Zdrój commune, according to data from October 2008.

The amount of brines, curative and thermal waters intake in 2010 was calculated on 8,144,613.77 m3/year. In 2010 two new deposits of curative waters were added: Busko-Północ in Busko-Zdrój and Wojkowa.

Notice: in case of springs and artesian flows, only amount of used waters is given, not total amount of outflowing water (this refers to: Swoszowice, Krzeszowice, Wapienne deposits).

Prepared by: L. Skrzypczyk, J. Sokołowski