Title: Use of Passive Sampling Devices in Toxicity Assessment of Groundwater
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Publication Year: 2007
JRC N°: JRC33840
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC33840
DOI: 10.1016/S0166-526X(06)48018-1
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Groundwater is one of our most vital resources. Approximately 90% of all readily available fresh water (that is excluding glaciers and icecaps) is stored as groundwater. Groundwater is a major source for drinking water in many parts of the world and it provides baseflow and recharge to streams and lakes. For these reasons, groundwater requires protection and appropriate ways to assess its quality. Groundwater quality can be impaired by basically two types of contamination - microbial or chemical. Both can occur due to point- or non-point sources. With regard to chemical contamination, substances such as organic chlorinated compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) or nitrate have been, and continue to be, of frequent concern. More recently, pharmaceuticals and personal care products had to be added to the list of chemicals of concern. For example, Heberer et al. [1,2] reported several human pharmaceuticals at µg/L concentrations in groundwater at a drinking water production site located downstream of a sewage treatment facility and a pharmaceutical production plant. Thus, there is growing awareness that we need to improve our ability to assess groundwater quality and that more effective ways of groundwater monitoring are essential to protect its vital role. Effective groundwater monitoring requires that site- and problem specific characteristics are taken into account. Traditional ways of groundwater monitoring are often limited in their suitability to accomplish this. Several innovative monitoring approaches have been developed over the past years that promise to overcome a number of shortcomings of conventional monitoring strategies. For example, long-term surveillance to monitor the success of remediation measures has been shown to be achievable with very little effort by means of time-integrating sampling devices, such as the Ceramic Dosimeter [3, 4] (see Chapter by Weiß et al.). Sampling devices are installed for months and with only one sampling event, time-weighted average contaminant concentrations can be calculated. This approach is far superior to conventional snap-shot sampling, which requires time- and labour intensive field trips but still does not provide any information about contaminant concentrations between sampling events. Another example for limitations in conventional approaches of monitoring contaminants is the focus on chemical analysis alone. If contamination is known to be caused by one or few well described chemicals, this approach is adequate. However, a multitude of chemicals is often present at contaminated sites with the identity of most of the chemicals being unknown. Toxicological analysis can greatly aid in the monitoring of such complex contaminations because it accounts for groundwater in its entirety. It has indeed been repeatedly shown that chemicals presumed to be a priority did not explain the toxicity, and thus reduced quality, observed in groundwater samples [5-7]. If toxicological and chemical analyses are combined, the identity of relevant chemicals may be deciphered and remediation measures adopted accordingly.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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