9-12 September 2019
Auditorium 500



The call for abstracts is now closed (deadline 1 March 2019). 



The following themes are concerned : 

1. Groundwater quality response to climate, land use or other earth system changes
Increased population and urbanization have led to significant changes in the Earth environments, with modification of land use, agricultural systems, climate change, land take, growth of cities, etc. Often, this involves trade-offs between competing demands on groundwater resources. This session will explore the consequences of this evolution and response of groundwater quality to such global changes. Documented cases which demonstrate such evolution over time are particularly welcomed as a basis to better understand how to address and limit the impacts of such changes. Decision-making approaches supporting the sustainable management of groundwater resources in this context will also be considered.

2a. Specific and emerging issues of groundwater pollution
Significant progress has been made in recent decades in our ability to detect exogenous substances at very low concentrations in water. In addition, new threats related to new industrial processes and lifestyle changes have contributed to the identification of emerging contaminants. This session will consider recent research on the occurrence, monitoring, fate, evolution and hazards related to specific and emerging groundwater contaminants, such as personal care and lifestyle products, pharmaceuticals, endocrine disruptors, biocides, pathogens, PFAS. Particular emphasis will be given to identifying the sources and pathways of such compounds in the subsurface and how they can serve as indicators of urban versus rural sources of other common groundwater contaminants, such as nutrients and metals.

2b. Diffuse pollution of groundwater from geogenic to anthropogenic origins
Diffuse pollution is the main cause of groundwater quality deterioration at the scale of catchments, aquifers and groundwater bodies in urban, peri-urban and rural landscapes. Many research and operational challenges remain in order to develop efficient strategies to quantify and mitigate diffuse pollution problems. Increasingly, this must consider the role of pollutant transfer and transformation between the surface and subsurface systems in urban and rural environments by different processes. This session will focus on distinguishing the geogenic and anthropogenic origin of specific pollutants such as arsenic, fluoride, selenium, lithium, and others, identification of trends and time lags in aquifers affected by agrochemical products, and the management of pollutant impacts in these contrasting settings

2c. Threats to groundwater resources from subsurface phenomena
Subsurface environments are increasingly exploited but also impacted by human activities and industrial processes such as deep storage of substances like waste water, CO2 or nuclear wastes, energy production through shallow and deep geothermal energy systems or shale gas exploitation, underground mining and quarries, and urban infrastructures (heat islands). Problems related to mobilisation of pollutants from contaminated land in urban areas due to decreased groundwater abstraction have also been documented. This session will encompass these various topics, from process understanding to consequences on groundwater quality and pollution impacts, and risk assessment studies.

3. Impact on groundwater quality of non-conventional water (treated wastewater, desalinated water) for (managed) artificial recharge and irrigation practices
Non-conventional waters such as treated waste water, storm water, or desalinated water often contributes to groundwater recharge, either as a direct process, namely managed aquifer recharge, or as a consequence of other uses, for example, in relation to irrigation practices. This session will consider the role of such inputs in the sustainability and management of groundwater resources in different contexts. Particular attention will be given to investigations on aquifer hydrogeochemistry, biogeochemical reactions improving the quality of the recharged water and reactive and mixing processes that occur between groundwater and the recharged water, in regard to the implications for groundwater management and use, including aquifer clogging and other operational problems.

4. Groundwater quality at interfaces
As a key component of the water cycle, groundwater strongly interacts with the other segments of the environment, i.e. surface water bodies, rivers and sea water. In this context, its quality depends upon filtration and mixing processes and biogeochemical reactions that occur in the connecting interfaces such as soil and riverbed sediments, hyporheic zone, and coastal zones subject to tides, etc. This session will consider recent advances in the understanding and quantification of biogeochemical processes at such interfaces and their influence on groundwater quality, including groundwater management in coastal aquifers and river-connected alluvial sediments, or soil amendment to improve its capacity to reduce contaminant leaching to groundwater.

5a. Advanced and new techniques for characterizing groundwater quality, pollutant fate and subsurface systems (part 1)
Collecting groundwater level data and samples using conventional groundwater monitoring wells is no longer considered adequate to assess the risks posed by groundwater impacts from pollutants. There is an increasing need to better understand subsurface contaminant distribution, the influence of aquifer heterogeneity on solute transport and pollutant mass fluxes to receptors at different spatial-temporal scales. This is necessary to develop robust conceptual site models which support decisions on practical risk mitigation measures for both point and diffuse sources of pollutants. This session will review advanced and new techniques developed for characterising groundwater quality and pollutant fate in the subsurface but also the needs for efficient tools and databases for the management of information collected from the studies sites such as groundwater pollution monitoring data.

5b. Advanced and new techniques for characterizing groundwater quality, pollutant fate and subsurface systems (part 2)
In recent decades, significant progresses have been made in the use of isotopic signals of various anthropogenic and naturally occurring chemical substances for a better understanding of local to regional groundwater flow patterns, groundwater mixing and ages, or the identification of organic and inorganic pollution sources and investigations on degradation and transformation kinetics and pathways. This session will welcome contributions on recent advances on the use of isotopes and natural or environmental tracers as proxies of various processes occurring in groundwater flow systems, from the description of new protocols and methodologies to illustrative case studies.

5c. Non- to low-invasive technologies for subsurface characterization 
There is an increased interest in the use of non- to low invasive sensing techniques for the characterization of subsurface heterogeneity, pollutant distribution or monitoring of biogeochemical processes. In this context, direct push technologies and geophysical methods have gained importance. The development of miniaturized sensors allows for very high-resolution depth profiling of specific proxies (e.g. isotopes, hydrochemical, contaminants) whereas advances in inversion methods and geophysical sensors allows to image and characterize subsurface properties over large areas and increased temporal resolution allowing monitoring of processes. This session welcomes contributions in technological advances in terms of sensors and systems, multi-scale data integration techniques, or monitoring of processes as well as novel or challenging case studies deploying non- to low invasive sensing techniques.

6. Long term management, protection and use of groundwater resources from urban to rural environments (co-organized with the IAH Urban groundwater network)
In many countries, groundwater is the dominant and sometimes only available resource for drinking water. At the same time, groundwater is facing increasing pressures related to global population growth, urban sprawl or the intensification of agriculture. This session will welcome contributions on advanced and sustainable approaches for groundwater quality management which consider the intensification of human activities, for efficient land use planning and definition of water protected areas and safeguard zones, including in urban and peri-urban contexts. 

7. Groundwater flow and reactive transport processes and modelling, including the impacts of heterogeneity
In recent decades it has become increasingly evident that accurate reactive transport modelling relies on detailed representation of aquifer heterogeneity and evaluation of the dynamics of groundwater flow from local- to aquifer-scales. This session will welcome contributions describing recent advances in groundwater flow and reactive transport modelling from pore-scale to aquifer-scale, with a specific focus on the link between these different scales and on the use of field experiments such as tracer tests for efficient calibration of such models. Special interest will also be given to multicompartment models and to advanced calibration methods such as self-learning algorithms or new modelling techniques that advance current capability and applications.

8. Existing and future trends in groundwater remediation (co-organized with NICOLE)
Since the emergence of pump-and-treat systems in the 1970s, considerable effort has been invested in developing more sustainable and effective remediation techniques. While in-situ technologies such as enhanced bioremediation, thermal desorption or chemical oxidation have gained increasing interest in the last decade, their implementation continues to face key challenges such as contaminant rebound, back-diffusion, by-passing of treatment zones, or simply the impracticability of achieving regulatory clean-up criteria. This session will address current and future trends in groundwater remediation techniques and the innovation needed to practically overcome the existing challenges, while recognising that some nature-based solutions have delivered better value than those designed as engineered controls.

9. Role of soil and groundwater in the water - food - energy nexus; emerging practical and societal problems related to soil and groundwater quality issues 
The water-food-energy nexus is a major challenge facing sustainable development. These three sectors are inextricably linked, where actions in one have an impact in one of both others. Demand for all three is increasing, driven by rising global population, rapid urbanisation and economic growth. Multiple feedback effects, interconnections and coupling between food security, biodiversity in natural ecosystems and adequate energy production are involved. In this context, "win-win" approaches should be adopted to ensure environmental sustainability while supporting social and economic development.  This is particularly true for soil and groundwater resources, where reducing groundwater consumption and soil degradation are key priorities, along with decision-making tools for resource management. This session explores these issues in different contexts.

10. Non-aqueous phase liquids (LNAPLs and DNAPLs)
Light and dense non-aqueous liquids (NAPLs) continue to pose significant challenges to the management of contaminated sites, with emerging characterization and remediation techniques such as natural source zone depletion, dye-enhanced laser induced fluorescence or self-sustaining smoldering combustion. NAPLs are also posing significant challenges in the transition zones between urban and rural lands. The lands that once were subject to industrial activities are now being redeveloped into more sensitive land uses as a result from the urban immigration pressure (Australia, Asia) or the willingness to economically revitalize the former industrial precincts (North America, Europe). In some cities, the urban sprawl has extended so far beyond these industrial zones that it is triggering the development of road and rail tunnels across these NAPL sites, posing additional challenges to their construction. This session will aim at providing an understanding of how NAPL is being further characterized and remediated while providing highlights on the societal challenges of NAPL in the transition zones between urban and rural areas.

11. Natural attenuation of contaminants
Natural attenuation is an established approach for the risk-based restoration of polluted groundwater. It has primarily been used to treat groundwater contaminated with aromatic hydrocarbons and halogenated compounds but may also be appropriate for many other contaminants. This session will explore the application of natural attenuation in the management of both organic and inorganic compounds in groundwater, particularly new and emerging contaminants, and for mixtures of organic/inorganic compounds. In this context, technical challenges for implementing natural attenuation and the development of performance assessment techniques for heterogeneous aquifers and plumes (for example at megasites) will be explored.


Financial support

Authors issued from developing countries could be selected to receive financial support for their stay in Belgium (hotel, food, travel). The selection will be made from the call for abstracts. 


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