Title: Use of Isotopes for Tracing Pollution Sources in Groundwater (Characterisation)
Other Contributors: TAYLOR PHILIP
Citation: European Groundwater Conference 2006 p. 83-87
Publisher: Umweltbundesamt
Publication Year: 2006
JRC N°: JRC34257
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC34257
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: For more than a half-century, isotopic techniques have been widely used to provide insight in hydrological problems. Isotopic measurements have proved to be able to date the age of groundwater, to clarify the flows of aquifers, to understand salination processes, biogeochemical processes occurring in groundwater systems, the impact of urban/agricultural contamination on groundwater. This knowledge has largely remained imbedded in scientific literature and has not fully been used to strive towards better environmental management. This talk will, with the examples of NO3 and VOC pollution in groundwater, review the prospects offered by these techniques, explain why they are not used fully and particularly explore the possibilities to make them available to those that are dealing with the management of the quality of groundwater. Nitrate (NO3), naturally present at moderate concentrations in groundwater (around 10 mg L-1), is often greatly enriched by anthropogenic activities that involve nitrogenous compounds (e.g., the spreading of mineral fertilizers) and by-products of organic compounds from agriculture, septic systems, and animal manure. In spite of increasing efforts at the national and European (EC Directive 91/976/EEC) levels to reduce NO3 input from intensive agriculture, it is still one of the world’s major ground- and surface water contaminants.
JRC Directorate:Health, Consumers and Reference Materials

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