EPA: Sampling and analysis of groundwater
Source: tender for services, https://irl.eu-supply.com/ctm/Supplier/PublicPurchase/207062
EPA’s national groundwater quality Water Framework Directive monitoring programme
Groundwater sampling and field parameter analysis for all samples and microbiological analysis (for approximately one in four samples) at 270 sites
The EPA’s national groundwater quality monitoring programme consists of a total of approximately 260 to 290 monitoring sites, the majority of which are abstraction points for Public or Group Water Supply Schemes
EPA also plan, for the first time, to include 5 turloughs, to be monitored by shore based grab samples
The EPA’s Regional Laboratory in Dublin undertake analysis for metals, with all other parameters being analysed in the EPA’s Regional Laboratory in Monaghan
The parameters for field analysis are pH, Electrical Conductivity (Specific at 25°C), Dissolved Oxygen (mg/l and % Saturation), Temperature and Redox Potential.
Required to take samples for the microbiological parameters Total Coliform Bacteria and E.Coli at each of the 270 monitoring sites
The majority of samples (120) are from pumped boreholes. Samples from wells and boreholes are taken at the appropriate tap, i.e. at a location prior to water treatment in the pump house.
67 grab samples from springs. Samples from spring locations are taken close to the source using a sampling pole rather than at the pump house
There are 5 samples to be taken from Turloughs. Grab samples will be taken from the shore using a sampling pole, or similar sampling device e.g. 5 litre bottle thrown from the shore.
Poorly Productive Aquifer (PPA) sites: there are 76 monitoring locations located within nine catchments, with the monitoring points in each catchment located in relatively close proximity to each other. 68 of these are purged groundwater samples, 8 are grab samples from surface waters.
Turlough sites (5)
Castleloye, Newtown, Co. Sligo
Kilquire Lower, Co. Mayo
Kiltiernan East, Tyrone Avenue, Co. Galway
Rahasane, Carrigeen, Co. Galway
Doonowen, Co. Galway
Download EPA groundwater monitoring points in Excel:
Potential Risk to Groundwater Supplies from DWWTS
This data delineates areas with an indication of increased potential risk to groundwater supplies from DWWTS. This is based on interpreting mapped geological information to determine areas where there is increased likelihood of inadequate treatment of the waste water by the percolation area. It was created by combining areas from two data layers: areas with a high susceptibility of groundwater to percolation of MRP and Microbial pathogens from DWWTS and areas with a very high or high likelihood of inadequate percolation. This dataset was developed for the National Inspection Plan 2018 – 2021. The aim of the Plan is to protect water and human health from risks posed by domestic waste water treatment systems. For further information see the National Inspection Plan 2018 – 2021 report on http://www.epa.ie
This data layer was integrated with surface waterbody characterisation data from the Water Framework Directive (WFD) characterisation in a GIS to produce a single, harmonised layer of 10 risk zones within the Republic of Ireland.
GRACE Monitoring of Groundwater over Ireland
|Project Attribute||Project Details|
|Project Title||GRACE Monitoring of Groundwater over Ireland|
|EPA Project Code||2018-W-DS-33|
|Lead Organisation||National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG)|
|EPA Research 2014 – 2020 Theme(s)||Water: Theme 4: Understanding, Managing and Conserving our Water Resources|
EPA Research Pillars
|Project Start and End Dates||Start: 01/02/2019|
End (if applicable): 31/01/2020
Revised End Date (if applicable): 01/07/2020
|EPA Project Type||Desk Study|
|EPA Award Type||STRIVE – Project Based Awards|
|Current Project Status||Grant Awarded|
|Total Funding Amount||87648.60|
|Project Abstract/Description||The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment-Follow On (GRACE-FO) mission utilise a pair of co-orbiting spacecraft whose variation in position between them as they track the same orbit meridian allows researchers to map gravitational anomalies on the Earth’s surface. Over land, once corrected for geological and atmospheric effects, the dominant anomaly signature is from variations in terrestrial ground water bodies, and the GRACE missions have been incredibly successful in characterising changes in large/continental scale aquifers. Application to more local aquifer bodies are limited by GRACE spatial resolution, roughly 1 square degree at the equator. Given sufficiently sampled ground well levels within GRACE resolution scale, combined with local climatic and soil data, mapping of ground water storage changes at 10s of km spatial scale have been achieved, using machine learning techniques. The GRAIL project proposes to assess the feasibility of such an approach for the island of Ireland, using GRACE data products and similar climatic/soil/ground water level information provided by existing and on-going EPA/GSI programmes. GRAIL will yield the following expected outputs: – a report documenting from the EPA/GSI perspective the feasibility of downscaling GRACE data to map ground water changes in an Irish context – a report detailing the completed software infrastructure, the basis for its operation, the data utilized, ways and means of interpreting results – a report containing downscaled GRACE derived ground water storage variations sampled at a monthly cadence between 2002-2010 – a web resource documenting same – one peer-reviewed manuscript documenting the GRAIL project in the context of downscaling GRACE data products to infer ground water storage changes across Ireland between 2002-2010 – one peer-reviewed manuscript documenting the machine learning methodologies and software stack utilized to implement a GRACE downscaling project to a regional geographical context – one peer-review conference abstract contribution to the 2019 Fall AGU Meeting detailing the GRAIL project – a data archive hosting both monthly maps (in GeoTIFF) and predicted/measured ground water levels (in JSON) format, for inclusion in existing EPA/GSI online repositories – a github site hosting the first stable release of the GRAIL software stack, available for ‘turn-key’ installation on a range of computing platforms|
|EPA Scientific Officer||LisaJohnson|
Groundwater Protection Scheme Reports
A Groundwater Protection Scheme provides guidelines for the planning and licensing authorities in carrying out their functions, and a framework to assist in decision-making on the location, nature and control of developments and activities in order to protect groundwater. Use of a scheme will help to ensure that within the planning and licensing processes due regard is taken of the need to maintain the beneficial use of groundwater.
Groundwater Protection Schemes are county-based projects that are undertaken jointly between the GSI and the respective Local Authority. The groundwater protection scheme comprises two components:
- A land surface zoning map (or maps) called the groundwater protection zone map, and
- Groundwater protection responses for existing and new potentially polluting activities.
The role of the GSI is in the production of the land surface zoning map, whereas decisions on groundwater protection responses are the responsibility of the statutory authorities.
The risk to groundwater is defined through assessments of Groundwater Vulnerability, Aquifer potential , and Source Protection Areas. Datasets of vulnerability, aquifer potential, and source protection areas are generated by the GSI using field mapping in combination with readily available existing information and a limited amount of targeted drilling and testing. The vulnerability and aquifer datasets cover the entire land surface of a given area, while the source protection area datasets are specific to the catchments of selected groundwater supply sources. The three datasets are merged to produce Groundwater Protection Zones. Each zone is represented by a code (e.g. Rf/H), which enables an assessment of the risk to groundwater, independent of any particular hazard or contaminant type. This assessment should be regarded as a guide in evaluating the likely suitability of an area for a proposed activity prior to site investigations.
Once the groundwater protection zone is defined for an area, the hazards posed by selected human activities can be evaluated to assess the appropriate risk management measures, or Groundwater Protection Responses, for these activities. The Groundwater Protection Responses, which are shown by a code (e.g. R2¹), indicate the likely degree of acceptability of each activity in that Groundwater Protection Zone. The full explanatory text for these response codes describes the investigations and planning or licensing conditions that may be necessary in order to make a balanced, pragmatic, scientifically defensible decision. Currently available codes cover:
- Landfill, download PDF
- IPC Land spreading, download PDF
- On-site wastewater treatment systems (e.g. septic tanks), download PDF
- Out wintering pads, download PDF
- Earth-lined slurry stores, download PDF
Further details are available from the Groundwater Protection Schemes report published by the Department of the Environment and Local Government, Environmental Protection Agency and Geological Survey of Ireland .
Groundwater Protection Scheme Reports are available for certain counties to download as PDFs in the table below. The reports summarise the hydrogeology, aquifers, groundwater vulnerability and the groundwater use in a county at the time of the study. Groundwater Water Quality Reports give an overview of the main water quality issues in each county at the time of reporting. Please note N/A indicates Not Available.
Source Protection Zone Reports
Source Protection Zone delineation provides an assessment of the land area that contributes groundwater to a borehole or spring.
- Source reports have been undertaken by Geological Survey Ireland on behalf of Local Authorities since the mid 1990’s. Since then, more than 120 have been completed.
- A further 40 were completed by a CDM/TOBIN/OCM project team for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish Groundwater Source Protection Zones (SPZs) at monitoring points in the EPA’s National Groundwater Quality Network. These SPZs represent a continuation of GSI’s work, and follow the principles and methodologies set out in ‘Groundwater Protection Schemes’ (DELG/EPA/GSI, 1999) and in the GSI/EPA/IGI Training course on Groundwater Source Protection Zone Delineation (2007, 2009).
- Other reports commissioned by Local Authorities from hydrogeological consultants are available from the relevant Local Authorities.
The available reports are listed below in alphabetic order for each county.
- GWS stands for Group Water Scheme
- N/A indicates Not Available
- PWS stands for Public Water Supply
- RWSS stand for Regional Water Supply Scheme
- SPZ stands for Source Protection Zone
Should you have any query in relation to these reports, email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Groundwater Urban Waste Water Pressures
Significant pressures have been identified for waterbodies that are At Risk of not meeting their water quality objectives under the Water Framework Directive. While there are a multitude of pressures in every waterbody, the significant pressures are those pressures which need to be addressed in order to improve water quality. Many of our waterbodies have multiple significant pressures. A robust scientific assessment process has been carried out to determine which pressures are the significant pressures. This has incorporated over 140 datasets, a suite of modelling tools, and local knowledge from field and enforcement staff from the Local Authorities, Inland Fisheries Ireland and EPA. Impacts from urban waste water include nutrient and organic pollution. Urban Waste Water pressures are subcategorised into combined sewer overflows, Agglomeration PE >10,000, Agglomeration PE 2001 to 10,000, Agglomeration PE 1001 to 2000, Agglomeration PE 500 to 1000 and Agglomeration PE <500. (population equivalence)
Groundwater Domestic Waste Water Pressures
Significant pressures have been identified for waterbodies that are At Risk of not meeting their water quality objectives under the Water Framework Directive. While there are a multitude of pressures in every waterbody, the significant pressures are those pressures which need to be addressed in order to improve water quality. Many of our waterbodies have multiple significant pressures. A robust scientific assessment process has been carried out to determine which pressures are the significant pressures. This has incorporated over 140 datasets, a suite of modelling tools, and local knowledge from field and enforcement staff from the Local Authorities, Inland Fisheries Ireland and EPA. Impacts from domestic waste water include nutrient and organic pollution. This assessment synthesises over a decade of field studies on on-site systems in Ireland across many different soil types and combines factors relating to the efficiency of the septic tank systems with attenuation factors for the hydrogeological flow pathway.
Water Framework Directive Groundwater Waterbodies
The EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) (WFD) establishes a framework for the protection, improvement and management of surface water and groundwater. All Groundwater Waterbodies (GWB) are represented as polygons. They are validated by scientists in the Geological Survey of Ireland and the EPA Scientists as meeting the criteria for a WFD GWB.
Groundwater Water Treatment Pressures
Significant pressures have been identified for waterbodies that are At Risk of not meeting their water quality objectives under the Water Framework Directive. While there are a multitude of pressures in every waterbody, the significant pressures are those pressures which need to be addressed in order to improve water quality. Many of our waterbodies have multiple significant pressures. A robust scientific assessment process has been carried out to determine which pressures are the significant pressures. This has incorporated over 140 datasets, a suite of modelling tools, and local knowledge from field and enforcement staff from the Local Authorities, Inland Fisheries Ireland and EPA. Impacts from water treatment discharges include chemical and sediment pollution.