Groundwater is an essential part of everyday life for many people, industries and businesses. Groundwater supplies a significant amount of people across the world with drinking water, it is also used in agriculture and industrial processes. This vital source of water needs to be monitored and carefully managed to avoid any contaminants being ingested by wildlife and the human population. The weather is becoming more extreme due to global warming, groundwater needs to be protected and this means careful monitoring of the levels and quality. In this article we take a look at exactly what monitors the quality of groundwater, how you can monitor groundwater and who needs to monitor groundwater quality.

Who measures groundwater quality?

Several different organizations need to monitor groundwater quality for different reasons, some of these are required to measure and report on groundwater quality as part of the regulations and law in the area they operate. Environmental bodies are required to actively measure and monitor the groundwater levels and quality of groundwater in their area so they can identify any issues. They use this data to not only look at current issues but to make predictions on how the weather can impact groundwater quality and levels. They also actively monitor businesses who are likely to be groundwater polluters, they can then enforce rules, fines and additional regulations to address the issue. Businesses that use groundwater as part of their process or if they are using groundwater to supply drinking water must monitor the quality and make sure that it is fit for purpose. Businesses that may impact on the groundwater are also required to monitor the quality. Landfill sites if not designed and managed correctly can pollute the groundwater with leachate. To minimize any issues landfill sites should conduct regular quality tests on the groundwater surrounding their site.

How is groundwater quality measured?

Specialist tools are used to measure the quality of the groundwater. They are inserted into the ground using a borehole, a hole created in the ground specifically for the purpose of extracting or testing water. Water wells can also be used for this purpose. A sample of the water is taken and tests are performed. Enough water must be taken from the well to ensure the sample is representative of the groundwater in that area. Low-flow or passive sampling is used to achieve this. Low-flow slowly pumps the well so that the water stabilizes without interfering with the chemistry. Passive water sampling uses a device which is left in the water for a long period of time. Passive water sampling shows a more long term view of the contaminants in the water. At QED we offer a number of groundwater sampling solutions.

How is groundwater cleaned if it becomes contaminated?

If groundwater becomes contaminated it must be cleaned correctly before it can be used again for any purpose. There are many different reasons why groundwater can become contaminated. Some of the key reasons include, agricultural waste or pesticides being washed into the groundwater, leachate escaping from landfill sites, industrial spillages or illegal dumping of waste, storage tanks becoming cracked and leaking into the groundwater, chemicals or road salts from road incidents and many more. The process of cleaning up an environmental pollutant is called environmental remediation, in the case of groundwater this is referred to as groundwater remediation. Groundwater can be cleaned by adding chemicals or biological agents to the groundwater to remove the pollutants or to change them into harmless substances. Other methods may require some of the groundwater to be extracted and cleaned or disposed of before the area can be used again.

How can QED help with groundwater quality monitoring?

At QED we have a number of solutions to help businesses monitor groundwater quality and clean groundwater if needed as part of environmental remediation. Our Snap Samplers provide dedicated passive sampling, it is one of the easiest ways to collect samples for VOCs, SVOCs, PFAS metals and more. We also have a number of other groundwater sampling solutions to fit all business needs. At QED we have a range of knowledgeable experts that can help you find the right solution for your needs. Contact our experts for more help and advice.

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