Discharge to Groundwater – Risk Based Assessment

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?