General @en / 6 February 2018

GEOCAMB and ICRA researchers face an emerging problem: aquifer contamination by antibiotics

In recent years, research on groundwater agricultural pollution has been mainly focused on the impact of nitrates. A new project will address antibiotic contamination in the context of emerging pollutants, a less explored topic, until today.

Josep Mas-Pla, researcher at Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA) and GEOCAMB, heads the IMPACT project that aims to determine the environmental impact produced by the presence of antibiotics and nitrates in different aquifers around Catalonia.

The project, which includes four research groups and is coordinated by the University of Barcelona (UB), is based on previous initiatives tackled on pollution by nitrate, pesticides and antibiotics of agricultural origin in different environments. These projects allowed to determine transport and attenuation patterns of nitrates. At the same time, the researchers detected a great variability in the results obtained leading to an appreciable degree of uncertainty to the management of this problem.

This new project will focus on the problem of the presence of antibiotics from an environmental impact perspective (spatial/temporal variability and ocurrence) in different hydrogeological scenarios. Moreover, it will face the implementation of decision support systems that take into account the variability associated to the prediction of pollutant ocurrence. The project also includes assessing the economic impact on social welfare, ecological services, as well as farmers and urban consumers’ economies.

The project is financed by the last “Retos Excelencia” call of the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness of Spain (MINECO) and will end in 2021.

 Project Title: IMPACT –

Impacto de la contaminación de origen agrícola en la calidad hidroquímica (nitratos, antibióticos) y microbiológica (genes de resistencia) de las aguas subterráneas: condicionantes hidrogeológicos de su presencia, análisis de la vulnerabilidad y de la selección eficiente de puntos de muestreo, y su valoración socio-económica.

IP: Josep Mas-Pla
Duration: 2018-2021
Reference: Retos CGL2017-87216-C4-4-R
Budget: € 104,665.
Participating Entities: UdG / ICRA, UB, UCLM and UPC
Coordinator: Albert Soler Gil (UB)

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