The project

Sustainable in situ groundwater remediation

Towards Groundwater Denitrification

Nirvana is a European project co-funded by the LIFE Programme that aims to address the environmental issue of groundwater pollution by developing an innovative, effective and sustainable technology for in situ remediation of nitrate polluted aquifers.

Groundwater constitutes the largest reservoir of liquid freshwater in the world (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 the groundwater quality, which limits its potential use as a supply.

In this context, 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 in order to convert pesticides into more biodegradable compounds and enhance biological denitrification in the aquifer.


FUNDING: LIFE programme, the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action

BUDGET: €1.189.042

DURATION: 36 months (October 2019-September 2022)

COORDINATOR: Cetaqua Andalucía

CONSORTIUM: Aguas de Murcia (Consortium) and Aquatec

DEMONSTRATION SITE: Zarandona Aquifer (Murcia, Spain)

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Timeline of the Nirvana project

Preparation of the pilot scale site

Description: Local hydrogeological characterisation and pilot site design. Aquifer flow model. Drilling of injection and monitoring piezometers. Installation of in situ equipment. Testing of the completed pilot site.

Duration: September 2019-June 2020

Development of a business plan

Description: Market/competition analysis. Definition of business model for in situ groundwater denitrification with ZVI nanoparticles. Development of a business plan.

Duration: May 2021 – September 2022

Pilot site operation

Description: Start-up, operation and maintenance of the pilot site. Groundwater monitoring and sampling. Assessment of pilot site performance and technical management.

Duration: July 2020-December 2021

Replication and transfer plan

Description: Preparation of technical guide on the application of nZVI for in situ denitrification. Identification of 3 sites at the European level suitable for replication and transfer of the proposed solution and preliminary contact. Technical study (including comparative assessment with current strategy). Replication plan of the solution.

Duration: May 2021 – September 2022

Technical, environmental, social and economic assessment of the results

Description: Technical assessment (considering scaling up). Environmental assessment (LCA). Economic assessment (LCC). Social assessment (S-LCA). Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA).

Duration: September 2021 – September 2022