AquaTRAIN Marie Curie

AquaTRAIN Marie Curie Research Training Network on Geogenic Chemicals in Groundwaters and Soils

  AquaTRAIN is a Marie Curie Research Training Network established specifically to develop a better understanding of the behaviour and environmental impact, including human health, of geogenic elements, in groundwater and soils in the European Union.

The AquaTRAIN research training network integrates leading centres in Europe active in soil/water systems research within a coherent framework of dedicated young researchers through a joint innovative research programme focused on the cycling of chemicals between soil/sediment and water, and the implications for environmental protection, remediation and management.

JRC hosted 3 post graduated students:

Claudia Cascio
Claudia Cascio graduated in 2004 in Biological Sciences from the University of Catania (Italy) with a thesis on the impact of Mercury on human health in a polluted site in the South-East of Sicily. In 2006 she gained a Master in Economics of Cultural Heritage. In 2007 she joined the project AquaTRAIN (a Marie Curie Actions Research Training Network) as an Early Stage Researcher and become a Ph.D student at De Montfort University of Leicester (UK). Her research deals with the impact of Geogenic Arsenic and Trace elements on human health in an EU context. She is currently applying a multidisciplinary approach involving analytical chemistry, proteomics and soil mapping to assess the exposure of the general population from some European study sites. As part of her Ph.D., she is currently at the Institute for Environment and Sustainability in theLand Management and Natural Hazard unit as a grantholder.

Chris Parsons
Chris Parsons is a geoscientist reading for his PhD as part of the AquaTRAIN Marie Curie Research Training Network. Chris graduated in July 2007 from the University of Manchester with a research masters in Earth Sciences (1st Class with honours). During his masters he worked in the Environmental Geochemistry and Geomicrobiology group under Professor Jon Lloyd where he studied acid mine drainage contaminated systems. In September 2007 he started his PhD entitled "Studies of redox processes affecting geogenic Arsenic and selenium in groundwater and flooded soils" under the supervision of Professor Laurent Charlet at the Laboratoire de Geophysique Interne et Tectonophysique at l'Universite Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France. As part of the AquaTRAIN program Chris will spend 6 months at the JRC-IES Soils Action (starting September 2008) where he will conduct geostatistical analysis of groundwater data from Nepal in collaboration with Binod Mani Dahal, Ph.D. from the Research & Development Division of the Environment and Public Health Organization (ENPHO), Kathmandu, Nepal. In addition, he will develop the geospatial/geostatistical aspects of his european project focusing on field sites in France and Spain.

Julia Leventon
Julia holds a BSc. (hons) (first class) in Environmental Science (awarded 2006), and an MSc (distinction) in International Development (environment and development) (awarded 2007) from the University of Manchester. Prior to embarking on her academic career, Julia spent time working for a non-profit foundation in Peru, and for environmental consultancy in the UK. Her research interests are interdisciplinary and focus on the intersections of science, society and policy in environmental management. She currently pursues this interest through her role as an Early Stage Researcher on the AquaTRAIN Marie Curie Research Training Network. As a part of this, she is enrolled on the PhD programme of the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. Her PhD examines groundwater policy in the EU, particularly in the context of new member states in areas with potential geogenic contamination issues. Julia is at the Soil Action as a part of the AquaTRAIN programme. During her time here she will be examining the institutional structures that exist in both science and policy for groundwater management in her case study countries of Hungary and Romania

AquaTRAIN Marie Curie Research Training Network on Geogenic Chemicals in Groundwaters and Soils

Arsenic distribution map of Cambodia
Arsenic in shallow groundwaters extensively utilized for drinking, irrigation and/cooking in many parts of the world, including Cambodia, represents a major environmental hazard . The goal of this work is to develop a spatial model to estimate As concentration in groundwater in Cambodia and hence predict areas of high As (Arsenic) hazard as tool to inform the development of adequate measurements to reduce risks to human health.

In the framework of the Marie-Curie Network AQUATRAIN, the JRC Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES) has completed a new full assessment for the distribution of arsenic in groundwater and soils in Cambodia. This exercise is part of the wider programme for the mapping of the distribuition of geochemicals in soils and waters on a global scale as part of the future Global Soil Information System (GLOSIS) of the JRC.

Click on the image in order to get the JPEG Image.

Data Mining

The As (Arsenic) database built up analyses carried out by Polya et al. (2005) during the period 2002-2005. It consists of 571 geo-referenced measurements of total As concentrations (ppb) in water of wells. The statistical analyses were performed on the log-transformed As values to account for normality of the data. A number of auxiliary variables, in the form of raster maps, were also compiled for the entire study area and their values were extracted for each single observation. The auxiliary raster maps that we considered were: Elevations derived from the 90m SRTM DEM; Slope; Topographic wetness index; Hydrologic Flux Length; convergence index; Five images obtained by Principal Component Analysis of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) derived the MODIS sensor at 250m resolution for the period Jan 2000 - Dec 2001; Rasterized map of permanent water bodies, intermittent flooded areas and dry lands. All these auxiliary variables were converted to 12 principal components that were finally used to build a multiple regression equation describing the As content in groundwater.


The study revealed that there is a strong correlation between topographic environmental variables and the content of As in groundwater.

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AquaTRAIN newsletter

Welcome to the AquaTRAIN newsletter. This will be a quarterly publication for circulation to members and associates of the AquaTRAIN research network. It is intended to be a useful and interesting source of information on the work of AquaTRAIN, and related projects. It should also be a way of sharing experiences related both to research and to the mobility aspect of the network.

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