Session 3.2: Micropollutants in groundwater: an emerging challenge for drinking water production
Trace concentrations of micropollutants, especially pesticides, are regularly being observed in groundwater used for drinking water production. Contamination of groundwater is thus occurring in spite of the implementation of groundwater protection areas, which limit above ground activities. Extensive chemical monitoring and hydrological modelling is in place to determine current and future groundwater quality; however, these methods are often unable to provide good predictions of groundwater quality in the face of the complex mixture of micropollutants, degradation products, and groundwater systems. To tackle this challenge, the sources, occurrence, fate, and transformation of micropollutants in groundwater must be better understood. This session aims at facilitating a discussion on the key challenges related to micropollutants in groundwater and interaction between key stakeholders.
The session is built out of presentations by experts in the field followed by an interactive discussion session. First, a very short introduction to drinking water production from groundwater in the The Netherlands is given. Thereafter, a presentation by KWR Watercycle Research Institute (Prof. Dr. Annemarie van Wezel) provides an overview of the current condition of Dutch drinking water sources. Thereafter, specialists working at drinking water describe the specific challenges of translating monitoring data into predictions of future water quality. WLN (Dr. Peter van der Maas) provides insight into how monitoring is used to improve drinking water companies prediction power. Vitens (Martin de Jonge) presents how such monitoring data can be combined with groundwater macrochemistry to gain some insight into micropollutant transformation. Finally, Wageningen University (Dr. Nora Sutton) highlights the key research challenges of understanding and predicting micropollutant biodegradation in groundwater. The final discussion with facilitator creates an interactive forum to discuss the vulnerability of Dutch groundwater to micropollutants and the steps required to protect drinking water resources.