Research Approach gwTriade

While 95.7 % of groundwater has a good quantitative status, 36 % fails to achieve a good chemical status. Reasons for this are local pollution, e.g. from contaminated sites and wastewater discharge, as well as substance input from diffuse sources such as traffic and agriculture. These predominantly anthropogenic trace substances include antibiotics, pharmaceuticals and perfluorinated substances (PFAS).

The aim of gwTriade is to develop an integrated evaluation concept specifically for groundwater systems. This will be achieved by an innovative triad approach (ecotoxicological assessment, chemical analysis and assessment of faunal diversity). The triad concept is based on the knowledge that neither chemical analysis, bioassays nor biocenosis studies by themselves are sufficient to comprehensively evaluate ecological status. Instead, a combination of all three columns is necessary for an assessment. Such triad approaches have already been successfully applied to surface water and sediment assessments and will be applied here for the first time to groundwater investigations. By applying this concept, gwTriade would be the first consortium nationally and internationally to comprehensively perform the assessment of groundwater systems. Based on previous experience from integrative Triade concepts of this kind in the field of sediment and surface water assessment, the societal dimension will be integrated into the scientific-technical results of the joint project as well.

The social-ecological assessment, which includes the analysis of practical needs, the dialogue with practitioners, the inclusion of different objectives in groundwater assessment and the analysis of conflict constellations, can be used to derive mechanisms and solution approaches for conflict management and to test and prioritize the assessment criteria developed in the project with regard to social objectives. In addition, concepts and methods for groundwater quality assessment will be developed and easily transferable to other regions, thus providing a foundation for future applicability of the Triad approach at regulatory level.