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The Groundwater Monitoring Cycle

February 27, 2016


For the past decade, pesticide groundwater monitoring programs via prospective and retrospective studies were of diminished importance to regulators across the US and were often not considered during the registration process. While regulatory requirements for groundwater monitoring programs are beginning to emerge again in the US, Europe is full of activity to develop regulatory guidance for study design for crop protection chemicals with the potential to leach to the saturated zone.

During the 2014 EU modeling workshop in Vienna, Austria, it became clear that within Europe, groundwater monitoring is becoming required to dispute/confirm model findings in the regulatory process. The increased interest in groundwater monitoring was also visible at the 2015 SETAC Europe Conference and most recently at the 2015 Pesticide Chemistry Symposium in Piacenza, Italy. Following the Vienna modeling workshop, two groundwater working groups, SETAC EMAG-GW and the ECPA Monitoring Support Group, have geared up to handle groundwater monitoring in the EU28. A strict separation between industry and regulators is being maintained to avoid collusion. Companies have been conducting prospective and retrospective type groundwater monitoring programs in the EU, however, guidelines have not been developed to provide a framework for data objectives and design criteria.

In Waterborne’s early years, the US was a hotbed for groundwater work. Extensive multi-year studies were performed under strict Good laboratory Practice standards with sophisticated guidelines for study implementation. While the Waterborne field study group has grown to meet the expanding study needs of clients (surface water, watershed, drinking water, biological, field runoff, volatility, pollinator, etc.), the leadership team that was in place during the extensive prospective and retrospective years is still in place and able to support EU, US, and other locations.
Given the regulatory interest in the EU28 for groundwater studies, Waterborne scientists have been supplying our expertise from US studies to support European clients in their study designs, geospatial modeling for site selection, and protocol development. Europe can learn from USEPA and registrant experiences and the result can be an effective design guidance for the collection of a high quality dataset that has scientific and regulatory value to assess risk of crop protection chemicals leaching in vulnerable use areas.

Gerco Hoogeweg, Ph.D.
Lead and Manager, GIS and Data Technologieser Monitoring Cycle