, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 226–238 | Cite as

On the scope and management of pesticide pollution of Swedish groundwater resources: The Scanian example

  • Maria Åkesson
  • Charlotte J. Sparrenbom
  • Peter Dahlqvist
  • Stephen J. Fraser


Twenty-three south-Swedish public supply wells were studied to assess pesticide pollution of regional groundwater resources. Relations between pesticide occurrence, hydrogeology, and land use were analyzed using Kohonen’s Self-Organizing Maps approach. Pesticides are demonstrated to be substantially present in regional groundwater, with detections in 18 wells. Concentrations above the drinking water threshold are confirmed for nine wells. Observations indicate considerable urban influence, and lagged effects of past, less restricted use. Modern, oxic waters from shallow, unconfined, unconsolidated or fracture-type bedrock aquifers appear particularly vulnerable. Least affected waters appear primarily associated with deeper wells, anoxic conditions, and more confined sediment aquifers lacking urban influence. Comprehensive, standardized monitoring of pesticides in groundwater need to be implemented nationwide to enable sound assessments of pollution status and trends, and to develop sound groundwater management plans in accordance with the Water Framework Directive. Further, existing water protection areas and associated regulations need to be reassessed.


Pesticides Groundwater Sweden Water framework directive Monitoring Self-organizing maps 



This study was funded by Region Skåne, Länsstyrelsen Skåne, the Geological Survey of Sweden and participating municipalities and water organizations. The authors wish to thank H. Virgin for assistance in data collection, J. Sültenfuss for groundwater age discussions, C. Bertacchi-Uvo and K. Nishiyama for initial SOM guidance, and finally two anonymous reviewers and the handling editor G. Destouni for valuable feedback on the original manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PAF 174 kb)


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Åkesson
    • 1
  • Charlotte J. Sparrenbom
    • 1
  • Peter Dahlqvist
    • 2
  • Stephen J. Fraser
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of GeologyLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.Geological Survey of SwedenLundSweden
  3. 3.CSIRO Earth Science and Resource EngineeringKenmoreAustralia

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