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Groundwater is a precious natural resource. Often overlooked to protect and to care for because it is so easy to use, cheap and abundant. However, this is changing: the groundwater is turning grey. The groundwater quality slowly started to be impacted by decades of industrial and agricultural activities. At several water production wells, the quality has dropped below acceptable levels. This means that additional treatment steps are required before the groundwater can be used for industrial processes or drinking water purposes. With significant -financial- consequences for users.
In this session we are zooming into the origin of the problem, parties confronted with the problem and solutions.
The origin of the problem may be easily summarized as a result of industrial and agricultural activities. Pollution migrates downwards over time, deteriorating the water quality. This is only one part of the story. As awareness on environmental issues evolved in the end of the last century, many successful programs were carried out to protect the groundwater. Soil and groundwater remediation, emissions restrictions, they all contributed to protect the groundwater. However, due to enormous projected future costs, many needed actions were not taken. Policy changes sometimes replaced actual remedial and protection measures, however they did not resolve the problem. And now we realize that our groundwater is going grey.
What are the solutions? How can we protect the groundwater and repair the impacts? The classical technological solutions are all their, however we cannot afford them. So we want to conclude with affordable solutions that already exist and can contribute. We look in detail in the development of biological remediation of groundwater based on the constructed wetland methodology. How do they work and what have recent projects learned us? Why are they a viable -financial- solution to treat contaminated groundwater? We present some in-depth know-how that holds a lot of promise for the future.