Developing an innovative solution for in situ bioremediation of nitrate polluted aquifers

The problem of groundwater nitrate pollution in Europe

Groundwater constitutes the largest reservoir of liquid freshwater in the world and is an important resource especially as drinking water (75% of the European population depends on groundwater). Nonetheless, the extensive use of fertilisers and pesticides in agricultural and farming activities has resulted in the nitrate pollution of aquifers, leading to the degradation of groundwater quality and the pollution of drinking water supplies, which limits its potential use as a supply.

Nirvana addresses the environmental problem of groundwater pollution with an innovative solution consisting of injecting small quantities of zerovalent iron nanoparticles (nZVI) into the aquifer that will both convert organochlorine pesticides into more biodegradable compounds and enhance biological denitrification in the aquifer.

A novel technology for groundwater denitrification


Fertilisers and pesticides come from agricultural and farming activities, and their extensive use has resulted in nitrate pollution of aquifers, leading to the degradation of groundwater quality, which limits its potential uses as a water supply.

Nirvana Solution

Nirvana will develop an innovative, effective and sustainable technology for in situ remediation of nitrate polluted aquifers.

Specifically, zerovalent iron nanoparticles (nZVI) will be injected into the aquifer. This will promote the development of denitrifying bacteria capable of transforming the nitrates present in the water into nitrogen gas, which is removed from the aquifer in the form of gas.

Expected results

As a result, the groundwater body would recover proper chemical status and would become suitable for new uses, such as supply for human consumption. Therefore, Nirvana is expected to promote more sustainable water resource management by increasing the volume of groundwater suitable for drinking consumption.