Hydrochemical trends for public supply well fields in The Netherlands (1898–2008), natural backgrounds and upscaling to groundwater bodies

I. Mendizabal, P.J. Stuijfzand, P.K. Baggelaar

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Statistical trend analysis is applied to a 110. years long groundwater quality time series from the national network of public supply well fields (PSWFs) in The Netherlands. Such a groundwater quality monitoring network should be available in many countries, so that approaches and experiences presented here could be of interest world wide.Trendless concentration data series measured in the early years, which should bear the least anthropogenic influences, are selected to quantify the regional natural background concentration levels (NBLs) of groundwater resources at the depth of abstraction. Trends in the period 1960-2005, which contained a more homogeneous data set, are normalized to drinking water standards, mapped in planar view and cross sections, and used to identify the responsible hydrochemical processes. Seven representative trend bundles are defined by aggregation of trends for individual chemical parameters. Trend reversals due to either environmental sanitation measures or well field adaptation measures are identified by comparing significant trends obtained for two different periods within the time series.Natural background levels (NBLs) for individual PSWFs are upscaled to the national groundwater body level (as reported to EU), by aggregating them according to a PSWF typology based on a Hydrochemical System Analysis. This aggregation method groups together PSWFs that deliver waters of the same origin and similar hydrogeochemical environment. PSWFs delivering old groundwaters with a very stable quality are clearly differentiated from PSWFs pumping highly vulnerable aquifers characterized by strongly deteriorating water quality trends.Results are presented on national maps of The Netherlands with NBLs and water quality trends for selected major constituents. A normalized concentration change index (NCC) is defined and mapped to relate the quality difference between a recent survey (in 2008) and calculated NBLs, to the EU drinking water standards. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)279-292
    JournalJournal of Hydrology
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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