Quality of Soils and Water

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In this research topic we focus on quality assessments for soil and water, as determined by the German Federal Soil Protection Act, the EU Water Framework Directive and the German Ordinance on the Protection of Surface Waters.

Furthermore, we carry out studies that investi­gate priority setting with respect to (legal) measures related to the im­plementation of the Water Frame­work Directive, e.g., the derivation of chemical environ­mental quality standards for water, sediment and biota. Water and sediment quality is investigated using biomarkers and bioas­says and by ecological monitoring.

To describe the influence of surface water properties on the biological availability and effects of metals such as copper, nickel and zinc biotic ligand models (BLM) have been developed. BLMs allow assessing possible effects of dissolved metal concentrations in waters by considering local water parameters such as pH, dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and calcium concentrations. By this approach generic environmental quality standards for metals derived from risk assessment can be adapted to local water conditions. Fraunhofer IME is involved in a IUPAC project which evaluates advantages and possible drawbacks of BLM and BLM-based software tools and develops recommendations for an appropriate implementation.

We also devel­op and apply strategies to determine existing or potential hazards for natu­ral soil functions caused by the impact of anthropo­genic activities. In this context (bio-)availability is considered.

The structure of a community at a site, the ensemble of species and their abundance, is an excellent integrator of present and past exposure to stress. Thus, ecological monitoring is also an important tool to assess the ecological quality of water bodies.

In ecological monitoring projects we closely cooperate with external partners which are experts of the local fauna and flora to be monitored.  The Fraunhofer IME coordinates the projects and is responsible for statistical evaluation and assessment of the results.

Selected publications

Rüdel, H., Díaz Muñiz, C., Garelick, H., Kandile, N.G., Miller, B.W., Pantoja Munoz, L., Peijnenburg, W.J., Purchase, D., Shevah, Y., van Sprang, P., Vijver, M., Vink, J.P. (2015):
Consideration of the bioavailability of metal/metalloid species in freshwaters: experiences regarding the implementation of biotic ligand model-based approaches in risk assessment frameworks. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 22, 7405-7421, (doi.org/10.1007/s11356-015-4257-5).

Schlich, K., Hund-Rinke, K.:
Influence of soil properties on the effect of silver nanomaterials on microbial activity in five soils. 
Environmental Pollution 196 (2015) 321-330
(DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2014.10.021)

Wenzel, A., Schlich, K., Shemotyuk, L., Nendza, M.:
Revision der Umweltqualitätsnormen der Bundes-Oberflächengewässerverordnung nach Ende der Übergangsfrist für Richtlinie 2006/11/EG und Fortschreibung der europäischen Umweltqualitätsziele für prioritäre Stoffe. Texte 47/2015, Umweltbundesamt, Berlin (2015) 182 S.

Berger, W., Kalbe, U., Krüger, O., Hennecke, D.:
Elutionsverfahren für die Untersuchung von Böden und Abfällen: Aktueller Stand. In: Hessisches Landesamt für Umwelt und Geologie, Hrsg., Altlasten-annual 2013, Wiesbaden (2014): 47–56, ISBN: 978-3-89531-872-6

Knauer, K.,Hommen, U.: Environmental quality standards for mixtures:
A case study with a herbicide mixture tested in outdoor mesocosms.
Ecotoxicol. Environ. Saf., 89 (2013) 196-203. (DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2012.11.030)

Kördel, W., Bernhardt, C., Derz, K., Hund-Rinke, K., Harmsen, J., Peijnenburg, W. J. G. M., Comans, R., Terytze, K.:
Incorporating availability/bioavailability in risk assessment and decision making of polluted sites using Germany as an example. Journal of Hazardous Materials 261 (2013) 854-862 (DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2013.05.017)

Schäfers, C.:
Ecological approaches to aquatic ecotoxicology challenged by the needs of risk assessment. Fraunhofer IME (Hrsg.), Fraunhofer Verlag, Stuttgart (2013) 200 pp., ISBN 978-3-8396-0542-4 (Download)

Fedotov, P. S., Kördel, W., Miro, M., Peijnenburg, W. J. G. M., Wennrich, R., Huang, P.-M.:
Extraction and fractionation methods for exposure assessment of trace metals, metalloids, and hazardous organic compounds in terrestrial environments. Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology 42 (2012) No. 11: 1117 -1171
(DOI: 10.1080/10643389.2011.556544)

Kleihauer, S., Führ, M., Hommen, U., Hund-Rinke, K., Heiß, C.:
Bestimmung von stoffbezogenen Umweltqualitätskriterien - Ein Methodenvergleich von nationalen und internationalen Bewertungsgrundlagen. Texte Nr. 38/2012, UBA-FBNr: 001631, FKZ / Projektnr: 363 01 260. Umweltbundesamt. (Available for download)

Matthiessen, P., Babut, M., Batley, G., Douglas, M., Fawell, J., Hommen, U., Hutchinson, T.H., Janssen, M., Maycock, D., Reiley, M., Schneider, U., Weltje, L.:
Water and Sediment EQS Derivation and Application. In: Crane M, Matthiessen P, Maycock DS, Merrington G, Whitehouse P (eds). Derivation and Use of Environmental Quality and Human Health Standards for Chemical Substances in Water and Soil. CRC Press, Boca Raton. FL., USA. (2009) 47-103

Fliedner, A., Schäfers, C.:
Wassergefährdungspotenzial nativer Öle und Fette: Berücksichtigung physikalischer Effekte. UWSF – Z Umwelchem Ökotox 19 (2) (2007) 103-107 (DOI: 10.1065/uwsf2006.12.156)

Rüdel, H., Fliedner, A., Herrchen, M.:
Strategie für ein stoffangepasstes Gewässermonitoring - Machbarkeitsstudie.
Erfassung potentiell sorbierender oder akkumulierender Stoffe in den Kompartimenten Biota, Sedimenten und Schwebstoffen
(2007) (Projekt für das österreichische Lebensministerium, Wien) (Download)  

Schäfers, C.:
Grundproblematik gefährlicher Stoffe in Gewässern. Gewässerschutz * Wasser * Abwasser 207: 32/1 (2007) 32/8

Schäfers C, Hommen U, Dembinski M, Gonzalez-Valero JF:
Aquatic macroinvertebrates in the Altes Land, an intensely used orchard region in Germany. Correlation between community structure and potential for pesticide exposure. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 25 (12) (2006)  3275-3288. (DOI: 10.1897/05-677R.1)