Hydrochemistry and Contaminants

contaminant hydrogeology

Questions related to the chemistry of groundwater are an important topic in both groundwater research and management. On the one hand, hydrochemical and isotope methods can provide unique information about the functioning of groundwater flow systems. On the other hand, there is a growing concern about groundwater contamination, and a need for an improved understanding of the fate of contaminants in aquifers and methods for groundwater remediation.

The Contaminant Hydrogeology and Hydrochemistry Lab addresses both of these topics with a strong focus on experimental studies in the laboratory and the field, while benefitting from the extensive field and laboratory infrastructure of the CHYN, and of external partners like the Borden Research Site in Canada and the EAWAG.


Context and Research Orientation

One of the main research topics of the group is the behavior of organic contaminants in the subsurface. This research includes the development of new methods to detect contaminant transformation processes, especially methods based on stable isotope analysis, and studies that investigate the contaminant behavior in complex subsurface environments. These system-oriented studies focus on the contaminant behavior in alluvial aquifers, at the groundwater-surface water interface or in karst systems. Other key research topics are the effect of land-use changes on the long-term evolution of groundwater quality and the effect of climate change on groundwater quantity and quality.