SOLUTIONS scrutinises new sources of pollution

Published: 9 October 2014

About 100 representatives of 40 European research partners and stakeholders in the EU SOLUTIONS project will meet between 13 and 16 October at Deltares to discuss progress and the initial results.

Pollution by pharmaceuticals and health care products is poorly understood

SOLUTIONS was launched by the EU because new sources of pollution such as pharmaceuticals and health care products may cause numerous problems for European water quality. Too little is still known about the chemical compounds used, and this gap in our knowledge is an obstacle to preventive action. SOLUTIONS is intended to remedy this situation. Deltares is coordinating the water-quality modelling and providing software for the purposes of the research.

The compound, the quantity or the river?

Jos van Gils is working on SOLUTIONS on behalf of Deltares: ‘We know that many new pollutants have a potentially negative effect on water quality. But we often don’t know why. Is it the compound itself, or the amount in the water? Or is it the way a chemical substance has been included in the product? Or do the specific features of the river have an effect? SOLUTIONS will be providing answers to questions like this.’

Preventing pollution

The main goal of SOLUTIONS is to produce better predictions of which substances will lead to problems in which conditions. Jos van Gils: ‘Once we know that, we can draft sound guidelines to prevent the pollution. At the moment, we often find out that a particular compound is a problem only when it has entered the ecosystem. The aim with SOLUTIONS is to develop tools that will allow water management authorities to be pro-active. We also hope to develop tools that will enable those same authorities to make faster analyses when there is a problem, and in that way to prevent large-scale dissemination.’

SOLUTIONS was launched on 1 October 2013 and it will continue through to 1 October 2018.