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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 2011, No. 163, item 981, art. 5, with subsequent amendments) brines, curative or thermal waters as opposed to fresh groundwater are considered as minerals on the basis of their specific physical and chemical properties.

In previous years, 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: According to the Ordinance of the Council of Ministers dated on 14 February 2006 curative water was considered as groundwater 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 (250-999 mg/dm3 carbonic acid waters, ≥ 1,000 mg/dm3 carbonated water),

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 (baths, inhalations, drinking treatment) and bottling purposes (i.e. Krynica-Zdrój, Muszyna, Piwniczna-Zdrój, Wysowa, Polanica-Zdrój, Busko-Zdrój) but also for salt, lye and mud production and pharmaceutic preparations (i.e. Ciechocinek, Dębowiec, Iwonicz-Zdrój, Rabka-Zdrój).

Mineralised and specific groundwater (with total solid dissolved minerals over 1 000 mg/dm3, Hydrogeological Dictionary, 2002), 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, (J) type,
  • bicarbonate waters, mainly of HCO3-Ca-(Mg), (Fe) type
  • 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 (Paczyński, 2002; simplified)

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 (fig. 2).

Fig. 2 Occurrence of thermal waters in Poland (Płochniewski, 1994; simplified with additions)

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 (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.

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

The presented balance for the year 2013 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 March 2014. 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 2013 reserves of groundwater classified as minerals were calculated as 5,241.78 m3/h in 123 deposits. In the analyzed period the Minister of the Environment and appropriate marshals of voivodeships approved/accepted the following hydrogeological reports for reserves determination of thermal and curative waters:

  • “Hydrogeological documentation for reserves determination of curative waters intakes GZ-1and GZ-2 from Jurassic and Cretaceous deposits, respectively in Gołdap” prepared due to reserves determination for two intakes within the curative water deposits with no previous record.
  • „Hydrogeological documentation for reserves determination of curative waters intake P-4 from Paleogene deposits in Muszyna”, prepared due to the development of the intake with a new exploitation well P-4.
  • „Hydrogeological documentation for reserves determination of curative waters intakes Wielka Pieniawa, Pieniawa Józefa 1 i 2 in Polanica-Zdrój”, prepared due to update necessity of original reports.
  • “Hydrogeological documentation for reserves determination of thermal waters intake Trzęsacz GT-1 from Lower Jurassic deposits” prepared due to reserves determination for GT-1 intake within the thermal water deposits with no previous record.
  • „Annex no. 1 to hydrogeological documentation of mineral groundwaters of Paleogene age – Rabka IG-1 intake – and Cretaceous – Paleogene intake – Poreba Wielka IG-1 due to new reserves determination of thermal waters in Poreba Wielka IG-1 in Poreba Wielka” prepared due to preparation for exploitation of the existing, not used hydrogeological borehole.
  • „Annex no. 1 to hydrogeological documentation for reserves determination of thermal waters intake Szymoszkowa GT-1” in Zakopane”, prepared due to update of reserves determination of the existsing intake.
  • „Hydrogeological documentation for reserves determination of curative waters intakes from Lower Cretaceous deposits in Świnoujście”, prepared due to update necessity of original reports.
  • „Annex no. 1 to hydrogeological documentation for reserves determination of curative waters in the vicinity of Krynica Dolna, Muszyna, Powroźnik and Jastrzębik due to P-15 borehole of curative waters liquidation”, prepared due to liquidation of the boreholes, which has not been used for years.
  • „Annex no. 3 to hydrogeological documentation of iodine-bromine brines from Tertiary deposits for Lapczyca mining area, prepared due to update necessity of original reports.

In 2013 the Ministry of the Environment one hydrogeological documentation for disposable resources determination was approved/accepted:

The amount of brines, curative and thermal waters intake in 2013 was calculated on 9,876,833.73 m3/year. In comparison to the previous year it has increased of about 742,803.74 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