Special Issue "Emerging contaminants (ECs) in Groundwater"

A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263). This special issue belongs to the section "Hydrogeology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Maurizio Barbieri
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Earth Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, P.le Aldo Moro, 5 - 00185 Roma, Italy
Interests: geochemical tracers in hydrological studies; interactions between water and the geological and chemical environment; quantitative understanding of chemically based processes in hydrogeochemical environments and complementary physical and biological processes and conditions; kinetics and equilibria of geochemical reactions; the movement of isotopes and soil chemistry; freshwater–seawater interactions in coastal aquifers; basic and applied research on speciation and transformation of trace metals and metalloids during biogeochemical processes in both natural and anthropogenic environments; radiogenic and stable isotope geochemistry
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Groundwater contamination results from widely diverse human activities. Emerging contaminants (ECs) referred to compounds previously not considered or known to be significant to groundwater (in terms of distribution and/or concentration) which are now being more widely detected. 

During the last century, an increasing number of compounds originating from human activities have been introduced into the water cycle. Some of these are easily identified point sources (e.g., pharmaceuticals, illicit drugs, personal care products, engineered nanomaterials). These ECs are ubiquitous in the aquatic environment, mainly derived from the discharge of municipal wastewater effluents. Still, other types of groundwater contamination are associated with non-point sources activities (e.g. atmospheric deposition or from crop and animal production).

The emerging contaminants can have human or ecological health effects and there is a need for a better understanding of their fate in environmental systems.

Many emerging contaminants remain unregulated, but the number of regulated contaminants will continue to grow slowly over the next several decades.

Pesticides and their metabolites are probably the most studied group of emerging contaminants.

Persistence of other pollutants, particularly pharmaceuticals, is less-well characterised and these are assessed using new case studies to indicate the compounds which have been identified in groundwater and possible concentrations.

Most emerging pollutants are not regulated in environmental, water quality and wastewater discharge regulations. Hence, this special issue is aiming at understanding which are the relevant compounds that can be found in the aqueous environment, which are or could have the potential to become emerging contaminants and the pathway by which it travels from the source, e.g. fracture flow through an aquifer. This will allow the determination of the environmental occurrence of these potential contaminants, the characterisation of their sources and pathways that determine release to the aqueous environment and definition and quantification of the processes that determine their transport and fate through the environment. 

Therefore, we seek scientific findings and results in the above-mentioned areas, which can contribute to new knowledge to hydrogeology and applied hydrogeology.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • emerging contaminants: fate and behaviour in the water environment
  • environmental impact;
  • nanofiltration;
  • toxicity;
  • risk assessment, solid-solution interface;
  • pesticides;
  • metabolites;
  • pharmaceuticals;
  • Advanced wastewater treatment;

Prof. Dr. Maurizio Barbieri
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessReview
Gadolinium as an Emerging Microcontaminant in Water Resources: Threats and Opportunities
Geosciences 2019, 9(2), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9020093 - 17 Feb 2019
Cited by 3
As a result of high doses of paramagnetic gadolinium (Gd) chelates administered in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams, their unmetabolized excretion, and insufficient removal in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), large amounts of anthropogenic Gd (Gdanth) are released into surface water. The [...] Read more.
As a result of high doses of paramagnetic gadolinium (Gd) chelates administered in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams, their unmetabolized excretion, and insufficient removal in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), large amounts of anthropogenic Gd (Gdanth) are released into surface water. The upward trend of gadolinium-based contrast agent (Gd-CA) administrations is expected to continue growing and consequently higher and higher anthropogenic Gd concentrations are annually recorded in water resources, which can pose a great threat to aquatic organisms and human beings. In addition, the feasibility of Gd retention in patients administered with Gd-CAs repeatedly, and even potentially fatal diseases, including nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF), due to trace amounts of Gd have recently arisen severe health concerns. Thus, there is a need to investigate probable adverse health effects of currently marketed Gd-CAs meticulously and to modify the actual approach in using Gd contrast media in daily practice in order to minimize unknown possible health risks. Furthermore, the employment of enhanced wastewater treatment processes that are capable of removing the stable contrast agents, and the evaluation of the ecotoxicity of Gd chelates and human exposure to these emerging contaminants through dermal and ingestion pathways deserve more attention. On the other hand, point source releases of anthropogenic Gd into the aquatic environment presents the opportunity to assess surface water—groundwater interactions and trace the fate of wastewater plume as a proxy for the potential presence of other microcontaminants associated with treated wastewater in freshwater and marine systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging contaminants (ECs) in Groundwater)
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