Nitrate contamination and groundwater residence times in the Molasse Basin, Lower Bavaria

During the last 50 years, human activity has strongly altered the quality of groundwater in numerous porous aquifers. The increase of nitrate concentration that has been observed in many aquifers around the world, especially in Europe and Northern America, causes the most concern due to its detrimental health effects in drinking water.

Therefore we want to investigate  the dominant sources of nitrogen and assess the denitrification rates and the self-purification potential of a polluted groundwater system in South Germany by using stable isotope technique linked with water age-dating method. In addition, we will investigate the significance and the chemical stability of δ18O of dissolved nitrate during denitrification processes under field conditions.

This project is in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and Health and the Bavarian Environment Agency and aims to (1) improve the groundwater quality of the contaminated aquifer and (2) to protect deeper groundwater systems in this region from nitrate contamination.

Hohenthann Nitrate Project - Impressions