Groundwater system analysis of former clay pits

Belgium (Rupel area, N Belgium)
2015 - 2016
Flanders Waste Agency

The Rupel area in Flanders is characterized by remnants of former ceramic industry including the presence of fish ponds as a result of abandoned clay pits. Several of these clay pits however were used as (illegal) landfills, creating local soil and groundwater pollution. To evaluate human risks and to prevent a spread of the pollution, local hydrology of the fish ponds has been studied with a targeted field investigation.

The groundwater system analysis aims at evaluating the different water flows (run-off, infiltration, groundwater flow, ...) to better estimate the distribution risk of the pollutants and to determine the most important receptors.

Infiltration tests, flow rate determinations, interpretation of precipitation data together with the evaluation of the groundwater flow direction provided insight into the 1) excessive flow to the fishing ponds, 2) dynamics of the pond system, 3) interaction of groundwater with surface water (ponds) and 4) potential distribution direction of the contamination.