Pollutants traced faster in groundwater

Published: 16 October 2014

Deltares is to develop a new type of passive sampler that will make it possible to trace polluting elements such as pesticides and medicines in groundwater, even in very low concentrations. It will make earlier intervention possible and reduce the risk of the extensive spread of any pollutants. That is good news for water companies whose water supplies come from groundwater.

Precise picture of water quality

Current analysis techniques fail to detect extremely low concentrations of substances. Concentrating compounds by using passive samplers makes this possible and establishes a better picture of water quality.

The passive samplers will consist of sheets of special material that are suspended in the water and continuously absorb substances from the water. The substances are concentrated on the sheets, making it possible to measure extremely low concentrations.

Sampler in observation wells

The samplers have already been used successfully, but only in surface water so far. Deltares is now going to develop, for the provincial authority of North Brabant, an adapted sampler that can be suspended in observation wells to monitor the groundwater. Good-quality groundwater is important for the provincial authority because it is used for drinking water.

Study in Deltares Environmental Laboratory

Over the coming months, the Deltares Environment Laboratory in Utrecht will develop and test the new samplers, and get them ready for use in the field. The samplers will be made from a material that primarily bonds pesticides and pharmaceuticals. During the course of 2015, they will be further tested during field trials in North Brabant.

The new passive sampler is good news for water companies whose water supplies come from groundwater.

The new passive sampler is good news for water companies whose water supplies come from groundwater.