Spatial Distribution of Integrated Nitrate Reduction across the Unsaturated Zone and the Groundwater Body in Germany

Lukas Knoll, Uwe Häußermann, Lutz Breuer, Martin Bach
2020 Water  
Nitrate pollution in groundwater and its mitigation strategies is currently a topic of controversial debate in Germany, and the demand for harmonised approaches for the implementation of regulations is increasing. Important factors that need to be considered when planning mitigation measures are the nitrogen inputs into water bodies and the natural nitrate reduction capacity. The present study introduces a nationwide, harmonised and simplified approach for estimating nitrate reduction as an
more » ... reduction as an integral quantity across the unsaturated zone and the groundwater body. The nitrate reduction rates vary from 0% to 100%, and are on average 57%, with high values in the north of Germany and low values in the south. Hydrogeological characteristics are associated with the estimated nitrate reduction rates, whereby the influence of aquifer type and redox conditions are particularly relevant. The nitrate reduction rates are substantially higher in porous aquifers and under anaerobic conditions than in fractured, consolidated aquifers and under aerobic conditions. This contribution presents a harmonised conceptual approach to derive the nitrate reduction rate at a 1 km × 1 km resolution. This information can be used when planning and designing mitigation measures to meet the groundwater nitrate limits.
doi:10.3390/w12092456 fatcat:tlbj7hhm2jfazb56lx2genkez4