Increased training in managing contaminated water sources around Europe will help communities access cleaner water and raise the standard of living.
The EU has laws that protect and promote sustainable use of ground water resources, yet despite this around 750,000 sites are contaminated with substances from organic contaminants to chlorinated solvents. One solution is to apply microbial processes which can help protect groundwater and improve its management. The EU-funded project 'Research training for good european ground water resources' (Goodwater) trained a new generation of scientists and environmental engineers in microbiological, chemical, hydro-geological, and stable isotope aspects.
The project brought together notable groundwater experts from the EU to develop an advanced training platform involving workshops, summer schools, research opportunities and laboratory exchanges. The initiative also involved stakeholders from government and industry to help incorporate socioeconomic aspects in the tutoring.
To achieve its aims Goodwater established an indoor aquifer model system enabling students and trainees to study aquifer contamination very closely. Programme participants were able to investigate microbial processes from DNA level and m-RNA level to protein level, elaborating protocols to analyse microbial remediation processes effectively.
The project team also developed and conducted quantification trials for specific aerobic and anaerobic degradation genes in order to study remediation processes at the molecular level. In addition to laboratory testing, participants gained the opportunity to study remediation processes of these compounds directly in the environment. This fundamental training in groundwater contamination will help manage water sources better and raise the standard of living in many areas of Europe.