In response to decline in water quality and wetland ecosystems throughout Europe the Water Framework Directive (WFD) was adopted December 2000. The objectives are;

  • To expand the scope of water protection to all waters (surface, ground, transitional and coastal).
  • Achieve at least "good status" for all waters by 2015.
  • Base water management on River Basin Districts (RBD).
  • Develop a "combined approach" to emission limit values and water quality standards.

OCM was the hydrogeological consultant to the Southeastern River Basin District (SERBD) Project which covers Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford, Laois, and parts of North and South Tipperary, Offaly, Waterford, Wicklow Limerick and Cork, the Southwestern River Basin District (SWRBD) Project which includes Cork, Kerry, West Waterford, South Tipperary and South Limerick and the and Neagh Bann River Basin Districts part of the North-South Share Project, and which comprises the International River Basin District between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Image of a Person collecting water sample (Hydrology) Photo

As part of the Irish Groundwater Working Group, OCM was involved in the development of risk assessment methodologies for anthropogenic sources (agriculture, industry, wastewater, landfill and transportation) on water bodies and subsequently applied the methodologies in four of the RBDs.

OCM was part of the team that developed groundwater monitoring networks at River Basin Scale for the purposes of establishing long term chemical and quantitative status and assessed the existing groundwater monitoring networks operated by 23 local authorities to determine their suitability for use.

OCM was a team member on research projects undertaken to develop surface water Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) to assess and investigate groundwater surface water interaction to establish the contribution of groundwater to surface water quality. OCM developed Natural Background Levels for a range of groundwater parameters, which were used to establish Threshold Values for the EQS Project.

OCM provides hydrogeological consulting services to domestic, commercial and industrial clients and public sector organisations. Typical projects include hydrogeological assessments as part of the EIA process; investigations specified in EPA Industrial Emission and Integrated Pollution Control Licences groundwater resource evaluation and source protection for public and private water supplies, and the preparation of applications for licences to discharge to groundwater.

The scope of each assessment is site specific but can include development of well construction specification, supervision of well installation, pump testing and data evaluation, determination of aquifer characteristics (flow paths, hydraulic conductivity, transmissivity, vulnerability to pollution), calculation of sustainable yields, delineation of zones of contribution and source protection zones, and groundwater quality monitoring.