Emerging organic contaminants in groundwater in Spain: A review of sources, recent occurrence and fate in a European context
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This paper reviewed the presence of emerging organic contaminants (EOCs) that have been found in the groundwater in Spain in both, rural and urban areas. The list of compounds included pesticides, pharmaceutical active compounds (PhACs), selected industrial compounds, drugs of abuse (DAs), estrogens, personal care products and life-style compounds. The main sources of pollution and possible pathways have been summarised in this review. EOCs are likely to enter to the aquifer mainly through the effluents of waste water treatment plants (WWTPs) and are present in groundwater at concentrations of ng/L to μg/L. The most studied compounds in Spanish groundwater were pesticides followed by industrial compounds and PhACs. It is important to mention that compared to other water bodies, such as rivers, groundwater is considerably less contaminated, which may be indicative of the natural attenuation capacity of the aquifers. However, some EOCs have sometimes been detected at higher concentration levels in the aquifer than in the rivers, indicating the need for further research to understand their behaviour in the aquifers. For a wide array of compounds, their maximum concentrations show values above the European groundwater quality standard for individual pesticides (0.1 μg/L). Therefore, to preserve groundwater quality against deterioration it is necessary to define environmental groundwater thresholds for the non-regulated compounds.
CitationJurado, A. [et al.]. Emerging organic contaminants in groundwater in Spain: A review of sources, recent occurrence and fate in a European context. "Science of the total environment", 2012, vol. 440, p. 82-94.