Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

New approaches to better manage contaminated land and groundwater in Europe

The increased need for water is placing significant demands on groundwater, and alternative sources of freshwater are costly and energy demanding. An EU initiative introduced solutions to better treat contaminated land and groundwater.
New approaches to better manage contaminated land and groundwater in Europe
The European Environment Agency estimates there are currently around 130 000 instances of groundwater contamination in Europe, while 3 million sites have potentially polluting activities. However, traditional remediation methods are unsustainable in many cases.

The EU-funded ADVOCATE (Advancing sustainable in situ remediation for contaminated land and groundwater) project set out to develop in situ remediation (ISR) concepts for the sustainable management of land and water.

Project partners developed new models and algorithms, performed analyses and used innovative methods to improve evaluation of contaminant transport and attenuation at the groundwater-surface water interface. This leads to more economical ISR approaches at contaminated groundwater sites. Field studies showed that a standard pump and treatment system can be used to improve the biodegradation of organic contaminants in plumes. Such new knowledge presents regulators and consultants with novel techniques to combine various ISR measures for sites.

The ADVOCATE team developed and tested in situ monitoring technology to better understand how contaminants from the zone between the land surface and the deepest water table are transported to groundwater. This enables regulatory bodies to develop improved risk assessment protocols and practitioners to design more cost-effective and sustainable monitoring and remediation measures. Scientists also developed several other innovative solutions, including technology for the in situ treatment of groundwater that contains organic chemicals.

Innovative methods were applied for site characterisation, water and contaminant flux measurement in subsurfaces. In addition, the performance of contaminant source identification, natural processes and remediation were assessed using new tools.

The limitations and weaknesses of existing management and decision-making tools that assess the sustainability of ISR measures were identified. As a result, new modelling tools and methods were designed.

ADVOCATE delivered various innovations for more sustainable treatment. In doing so, it will also support EU policy objectives and legislation to protect and improve the quality of soil and groundwater resources in Europe.

Related information

Keywords

Contaminated land, groundwater contamination, ADVOCATE, in situ remediation
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