ACWAPUR is an ambitious project aimed at developing new technological applications, and management tools and guidelines to prevent leaching of pathogens, inorganic nutrients, organic pollutants, and their degradation products to underlying aquifers during artificial recharge of aquifers (ARoA). It is a 3-year project initiated 1st July 2016.
The aim will be achieved by the construction of advanced treatment barriers that hinder leaching of pathogens and at the same time provide optimal conditions for microbial degradation processes (figure below). The barriers will consist of alternating sand and organic rich layers which, on the one hand, promote sorption of organic pollutants and, on the other hand, facilitate the creation of different redox conditions, to accelerate both aerobic and anaerobic degradation processes.
The elimination of the pollutants safeguards the consumers and alleviates the need for expensive treatment at the waterworks after abstraction. Novel management tools envisaged include 1) stimulation of ammonium-oxidising bacteria which are known to facilitate co-metabolic degradation of contaminants, 2) supply of specific degrading bacteria and/or nutrients to the barriers, 3) addition of easily degradable organic carbon to facilitate nitrogen removal by denitrification, 4) coating of barrier materials by e.g. iron oxides to facilitate adhesion and trapping of pathogenic bacteria, and 5) introduction of submerged plants to prevent clogging and facilitate nitrogen removal by denitrification.