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Ressources eau souterraines

Groundwater management

Highlights

Fait marquant

Analysis of the hydrogeological drought in the Grand-Est region

BRGM developed and tested new indicators to better characterise the sensitivity to drought of aquifers in France’s Grand-Est region, based on the analysis of piezometric chronicles (characterisation of the stock and inertia of the water table).

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Monitoring of the piezometric network enabled a drought vulnerability map to be drawn up for the Grand-Est region. © BRGM

Impact of pesticides on denitrification in groundwater

Microbial communities play a vital role in water quality. This project, conducted in bedrock (Brittany) where denitrification is generally high, showed the impact of certain pesticides and metabolites, even at low concentrations, on the biodiversity and activity of groundwater microbial communities, mainly due to inhibition of the denitrification process.

Origins of perchlorate contamination of groundwater

Perchlorate ions are potential endocrine disruptors, which have been detected in many drinking water catchments in France, particularly in the Grand-Est. Where do they come from? The Perchl’eaurigine project conducted a hydrological, geochemical and isotopic study along with an historical investigation. It found contamination from both ammunition and agricultural nitrates, with contamination of military origin especially in the groundwater in Champagne chalk formations.

Screening for new polluting compounds

How can the presence of «novel» compounds, such as pesticides, pharmaceutical compounds, personal care products and their degradation products, be detected during ecological treatment processes and also in the natural environment? The Transenv project uses passive samplers and liquid chromatography coupled with high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS). The aim is to measure the effectiveness of the treatment applied and determine the transformation products formed during the selected process, as well as their transfer.

Pesticide transfer via groundwater in the French Caribbean

How can long-term contamination of watercourses be remedied? Since 2016, the RIVAGE Guadeloupe project (involving CIRAD, INRA, BRGM and the University of the French West Indies and Guiana) has been studying pesticide transport processes in ground and surface water. The results show the key role of underground transfers in the contamination of river water by chlordecone in relation to the state of soil contamination, as well as “residence times” within aquifers that vary from a few years to several decades on average.

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Two employees taking a sample from a borehole for dating (Pérou river basin, Guadeloupe). © BRGM - J.-B. Charlier

Digital solutions for managing natural wastewater treatment

Under the EU Horizon 2020 programme, BRGM is taking part in the AquaNES project, which is developing water treatment systems that combine industrial and natural methods. In addition to managing European and international scientific teams, BRGM has developed innovative digital solutions for actively managing natural water retention and treatment solutions in coastal environments.

Understanding the sources and fate of macronutrients at the basin scale

The MUTUAL project (Multi-isotope and chemical tracing for understanding the sources and fate of macronutrients at the basin scale) was conducted by BRGM as part of a programme run by LE STUDIUM research consortium in the Centre-Val de Loire Region. This consortium brought together specialists from the University of Calgary (Canada), the British Geological Survey and the University of Lancaster (UK), the University of Barcelona and the UPMC (France), along with BRGM’s Isotopes Unit. Its goal was to gain a better understanding of contaminant (nitrogen and phosphorus) transfers in soils and groundwater on the catchment basin scale. Completed in 2019, the project investigated the complexity of nitrogen and phosphorus cycles in soil and groundwater through tracing with stable isotopes.