1. Periodic Report Summary - GOODWATER (Research training for good european ground water resources)
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Abstract: In January 2007, the Ground Water sub-directive (COM/2003/550) complementing the European Water Framework Directive (COM/2000/60/EC) came into force. These two directives enforce the protection, maintenance and sustainable use of groundwater resources in the European Union. However, today around 750 000 sites are contaminated with substances including hydrocarbons, chlorinated solvents, and diffuse organic contaminants throughout Europe. Microbial processes can play an important role in the remediation and protection of groundwater resources and there is an urgent need for a better integration of microbial process understanding in current management schemes. Groundwater management must take into account different characteristics and degradation capacities for pollutants and sites, and requires a comprehensive understanding of contaminant fate, degradation pathways, and remediation potentials.
Today, in Europe there is a shortage of scientists and environmental engineers with the interdisciplinary understanding of groundwater contaminant behaviour required when embarking on the tasks of protecting and sustainably managing groundwater resources, remediating existing contaminations, and performing risk assessment. The aim of the GOODWATER ITN was to educate a new generation of groundwater professionals with targeted multidisciplinary expertise and process understanding, including microbiological, hydrogeological, chemical, and stable isotope aspects. For this purpose, some of Europe's most esteemed groundwater experts from the different fields join forces to guarantee a cutting-edge scientific research training platform. The network offers individual expert training by research, and network-wide training by workshops, summer schools, and laboratory exchange. Moreover, stakeholders from industry and authorities are involved as associated partners to steer the project towards socio-economic relevance and tutor relevant complementary skills.
During the first reporting period an indoor aquifer model system was successfully established. In this system the contamination of an aquifer can be studied in detail. Currently six GOODWATER fellows with different scientific backgrounds study and sample continuously the microbial processes in the aquifer model. The system is studied from different angles, starting from the DNA- to the m-RNA-Level and finally on the protein level, as well as the activity of the system. Within the first reporting period the fellows successfully established the protocols to analyse the microbial remediation processes in the indoor aquifer model system in detail. For example an optimised set of quantification assays for aerobic and anaerobic BTEX degradation genes was developed to study the remediation processes on the molecular level.
Fellows who were not directly connected to this experimental setup studied remediation processes of BTEX compounds directly in the environment. Fundamental training to the fields of groundwater contamination has been provided, including lectures on hydrogeology, geochemistry, and groundwater microbiology as well as on stable isotope analyses in groundwater systems. During the workshops the GOODWATER fellows received training on essential elements for a successful PhD study, and a course in scientific writing and publishing.
Subject Descriptors: Network research; Method, work study; Ecosystems; Water resources
Subject Index Codes: Water resources and management; Environmental Protection; Network technologies ; Industrial Manufacture