Predicting the impact and duration of persistent and mobile organic compounds in groundwater systems using a contaminant mass discharge approach

M. Frederiksen*, K. Mosthaf, A. B. Bøllingtoft, C. N. Albers, B. S. B. Christensen, M. Christophersen, N. Tuxen, P. Tüchsen, L. Clausen, G. A. S. Janniche, P. L. Bjerg

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

This study investigated methods for predicting the duration and impact on groundwater quality from persistent and mobile organic compounds (PMOCs) at a drinking water well field affected by multiple contaminant sources. The fungicide metabolite N,N-dimethylsulfamide (DMS), which frequently occurs above the Danish groundwater quality criterion (0.1 μg/L), was used as an example. By combining contaminant mass discharge (CMD) estimations, modeling, and groundwater dating, a number of important discoveries were made. The current center of contaminant mass was located near the source area. The CMD at the well field was predicted to peak in 2040, and an effect from the investigated sources on groundwater quality could be expected until the end of the 21st century. A discrepancy in the current CMD at the well field and the estimated arrival time from the studied source area suggested an additional pesticide source, which has not yet been thoroughly investigated. The presence of the unknown source was supported by model simulations, producing an improved mass balance after inclusion of a contaminant source closer to the well field.

The approach applied here was capable of predicting the duration and impact of DMS contamination at a well field at catchment scale. It furthermore shows potential for identification and quantification of the contribution from individual sources, and is also applicable for other PMOCs. Predicting the duration of the release and impact of contaminant sources on abstraction wells is highly valuable for water resources management and authorities responsible for contaminant risk assessment, remediation, and long-term planning at water utilities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119199
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume348
Number of pages13
ISSN0301-4797
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Retention time
  • Longevity
  • Water resources management
  • Pesticide metabolites
  • Groundwater contamination
  • Persistent and mobile organic compounds (PMOC)

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