RIVM logo, National Institute for Public Healthe and the Enviroment. Minsty of Health, Welfare and Sport

Function-specific screening values for groundwater : Exploration and development of methodology

Functiespecifieke risicogrenswaarden voor grondwaterkwaliteit : Verkenning en methodiekontwikkeling


The groundwater quality in urban, industrial and in non-urban areas may have been affected by (former) industrial and commercial activities, spills and through leaching and run off from uncontrolled landfills, roads and building materials. This resulted in large volumes of contaminated groundwater. During the last twenty years, remediation of individual plumes of contaminated groundwater appeared to be an expensive and often remediation objectives appeared to be infeasible, despite of the available remediation techniques. In the Netherlands, this led to a change in the approach of large-scale groundwater contamination. Instead of remediation of individual groundwater plumes, the new policy focuses on the management of non-point source (diffuse) pollution of groundwater. Key goals of the approach for the management of so called 'area wide groundwater contamination' are the removal of point sources, the protection of vulnerable objects (for example drinking water wells) and the management of risks in relation to the use and function of groundwater. The latter topic is difficult to deal with, because function-specific groundwater screening values are lacking in the Netherlands. As in most countries, existing groundwater screening values or quality standards are not related to the use or function of groundwater. Moreover, the scientific foundation of existing quality standards can be improved and updated and more clearly based on risks for human health or the environment. In this report, we present an approach for the derivation of function specific and risk-based screening values for groundwater. This approach includes the definition of the different functions and uses of groundwater, and the related risk criteria. Based on these elements, groundwater screening values for the different functions and uses are derived for twelve frequently occurring contaminants.

Home / Documents and publications / Function-specific screening values for groundwater : Exploration and development of methodology

RIVM Committed to health and sustainability