The technical assessment of a discharge to groundwater activity is risk-based and receptor-focussed.
The assessment follows the source-pathway-receptor model which underpins all groundwater protection schemes in Ireland as well as the Water Framework Directive on which the Groundwater Regulations are based.
Every discharge activity carries a degree of risk. The challenge lies in differentiating between degrees of risk and assigning appropriate resources where the risk is higher. The main questions to be considered are:
- Source characterisation – how significant is the potential discharge (input)?
- Pathways analysis – how and where would a pollutant flow? – Is there a hydrological link that can deliver a pollutant to a nearby receptor?
- Receptor identification – who or what would potentially be affected?