It is a common sense that the responsibility for environmental impair and remediation of polluted sites is considered demanding, especially at morphological complex terrains polluted with a wide range of hydrocarbon oily products. Such terrain in Greece, where underground plumes of hydrocarbon pollutants are traced due to leakages from pipes and storage tanks, is that of the area around the ELPE refinery, where lake Koumoundourou is located nearby.
Lake Koumoundourou is located at the 15th kilometer of the National Road Athens – Corinth, just before the premises of Helenic Petroleum EL.PE. During ancient times it was among the lakes used for expiation as part of the Eleusinian Mysteries. It was dedicated to Persephone and the fishing was permitted only to the priests of the region. At the bottom of the lake is preserved up – to – date s small marble bridge, part of Iera Odos, with a width of 5.4 meters. The present landscape of the lake is the result of an artificial shape which took place gradually. Its south perimeter is constructed by a stone water tight liner, which isolates the main lake from the marsh. This liner bears a shallow foundation at a length greater than 3.0 meters. This rip-rap stone liner has created a stable natural bottom for the lake.
The lake’s surface is 143.000 km2, the length of its coastline is approximately 1300 m, while its maximum length and width are 600 and 400 m respectively. The lake for its most part is shallow, with an average depth of 1,5m, while near its sub-lake springs, the depth reaches 3,0 m. Its absolute altitude is 1,41 m above sea level. After the rise of its water surface, at a previous stage of the project, for about 30cm , by construction of a special adjustable Watergate, the absolute altitude of its now stands at 1,68m. The discharge of the lake towards the sea was always hampered due to a natural coastal embankment which allowed, through particular passages the free communication of the lake water with the sea. The embankment was integrated with the construction of the National Road, confining the lake and diverting its discharge through an artificial spillway and rectangular passage under the National Road towards the sea. Inside the lake and inside the aquifer surrounding the lake, underground hydrocarbon leackages have been detected shaping into an overall three slicks, moving slowly underground from the refinery to the lake. These hydrocarbons are consisting from fuel oil and petrol and are floating on ground and lake water and are the result of a long – term accumulation leakages from the bottoms of storage tanks as well as from petroleum pipes.