Less fertiliser has benefited Denmark’s groundwater

Christian Wenande
July 14th, 2015

This article is more than 8 years old.

From 1988-2009, 181 water wells in Denmark were closed due to excessive nitrate levels

The groundwater in Denmark has been steadily improving in recent years thanks to better environmental regulation, according to a new report by the national nature and climate association Danmarks Naturfredningsforening (DNF).

The report found that, from 1996-2001, the nitrates limit was exceeded in 58 percent of the groundwater samples taken. That number has dropped to 36 percent of the groundwater tests undertaken from 2008-2013.

“We can see that it helps to set limits to how much manure can be spread onto the fields,” said Bente Villumsen, a civil engineer with DNF.

“The regulation of fertiliser, cover crop demands and rules regarding earth treatment during the autumn has made impacted the upper groundwater over the past 10-15 years.”

READ MORE: Huge municipal price difference in drinking and waste water

181 wells abandoned
The groundwater eventually seeps down through the various earth layers, is drilled and ends up coming out of Denmark’s water faucets.

But when the nitrate levels are too high in water drilling, the well is usually abandoned because of the difficulty associated with purifying the drinking water.

From 1988-2009, 181 water wells in Denmark were closed due to excessive nitrate levels. Water with excessive levels of nitrates inhibits the ability of the blood to absorb oxygen. In extreme cases babies risk choking to death.


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