Managed Artificial Recharge of aquifers (MAR) has been well established as a technology capable of increasing the water resources storage by enhancing the transfer of water from the ground surface to the underlying aquifer. Moreover, by properly managing the presence of labile organic carbon, MAR can improve the quality of the mix of recharged and regional groundwater through the enhancing of reduction-oxidation processes along the infiltration path and in the mixing area. Besides traditional pollutants, Emerging Organic Compounds (EOCs) have been routinely detected in the recharging water. These compounds are associated with pharmaceutical and personal care products as well as industrial compounds or pesticides. Importantly, this type of contamination typically consists of a complex mixture of compounds, each one having a different degradation behavior for a given redox state. In this context, it is necessary to carefully examine the danger of damaging an aquifer water quality by recharging water containing pollutants (including EOCs). This is done by properly assessing the risk to sensitive locations. INDEMNE investigates a new strategy aimed to reduce the risk to human health and ecosystems posed by EOCs in MAR operations. The proposal contends that an engineering sequence of injections and extractions in the aquifer during MAR operations will increase the contact between the recharging solution and the groundwater, enhancing mixing and promoting the formation of a broad redox zonation capable to effectively degrade complex mixtures of EOCs. To achieve this, INDEMNE investigates fundamental processes taking place over multiple scales and develops methods and tools to assess the risk posed by these contaminants during MAR operations. First, fundamental processes aimed at characterizing the hydro-biochemical processes governing the fate and transport of EOCs in aquifers will be investigated. In the laboratory, column experiments will be used to analyze processes at the microscale. The upscaling of processes will be examined by means of intermediate-scale tanks with reconstructed aquifers. This will allow analyzing the benefits of sequences of injections and extractions under laboratory controlled conditions. Finally, INDEMNE will take advantage of an already equipped field site to assess the new technology in situ. Experimental data will feed mathematical developments and numerical methods aimed at properly representing hydro-biochemical process of EOCs into reactive transport models. These models will be incorporated into a new risk-based data driven methodologies that will help decision makers to develop strategies that will minimize the involved risks to society and environment as well as to reduce the corresponding uncertainties through data acquisition campaigns. This risk-based framework will allow identifying key factors controlling the risk posed by EOCs and will help analyzing the benefits of installing a pre-defined optimized sequence of injections and extractions during MAR operations. These risk-based tools will be ultimately applied in the field to improve the design of a MAR system in the Llobregat Valley.
Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica y Técnica y de Innovación 2013-2016
Programa Estatal de I+D+i Orientada a los Retos de la Sociedad
Retos de Investigación: Proyectos de I+D+i
Gobierno De España. Ministerio De Economía Y Competitividad, Mineco