2023-2024 / GEOL0277-1

Groundwater quality and protection


20h Th, 20h Pr, 1d FW, 35h Proj.

Number of credits

 Master of Science (MSc) in Geological and Mining Engineering5 crédits 
 Master of Science (MSc) in Geological and Mining Engineering (joint-degree programme with the "Université polytechnique de Madrid")5 crédits 
 Master in geology (120 ECTS)5 crédits 


Serge Brouyère

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The course describes the mechanisms that control (1) the natural quality and (2) the pollution of (a priori potable) groundwater resources.
The course is declined under the following main compounds: - General context and issues related to groundwater quality and groundwater protection - Natural quality of groundwater: hydrochemistry general principles, factors controlling the composition of groundwater - Groundwater contamination: soil and groundwater contaminants categories and properties, transport processes in the subsurface - Investigation techniques and methods for groundwater quality and contamination assessment - Legal and operational framework: Prevention, protection, remediation: legal aspects and decision tools, examples - Different contexts of groundwater pollution: ponit vs diffuse sources, agricultural contaminants, industrial contaminants, acide mine drainage, waste disposal sites, salt water intrusion...

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

General objective: theoretical and practical knowledge and critical judgement about groundwater quality and contamination problems, in view of an effective management and protection.
More specifically:
- knowledge about the main groundwater contamination issues and the adequacy of optimal protection measures
- knowledge on physicochemical properties governing the fate of contaminants in the subsurface
- basic knowledge for assessing contamination risks and groundwater state evaluation
- to be able to propose an investigation program for assessing the groundwater quality state and for protection/ prevention measures
- a general knowledge of the decision and legal context linked to the groundwater quality management
- Mastery of technical vocabular

This course contributes to the learning outcomes I.1, I.2, I.3, II.1, II.2, II.3, III.2, IV.3, IV.5, V.2, VI.1, VII.2, VII.3, VII.4, VII.5 of the MSc in geological and mining engineering.


Prerequisite knowledge and skills

It is better if the student has already followed courses on hydrogeology.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Theoretical courses and seminars based on case studies (where possible with external speakers).

A field day consisting of a visit to a hydrogeological basin, handling field equipment (pump, probes, etc.) and carrying out measurements.

Practical work during the course sessions based on a real case. This work is the subject of intermediate reports which must be submitted by the deadlines announced during the first course. These intermediate reports are subject to a formative evaluation (comments of the supervisor) but are not rated.

The comments must however be taken into account in the preparation of a final report which will be rated. This work is also the subject of an oral presentation (individually) during the examination.


Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

The course is given in English.

In principle, the course will be completely face-to-face but with possible adaptations taking into account the covid-19 health context and the possible limitation of the number of students in the classroom.

However, the way in which the course will be given will be discussed with the students during the first session.

For example, in order to reduce the amount of time spent in the classroom and to devote a significant part of it to practical work, the PowerPoint presentations used during each session will be made available to students in read-only mode, accompanied by comment pages where an attempt will be made to transcribe all the explanations that will / would be given during the course.

Shorter theoretical sessions, based for example on question-answer sessions based on a prior reading of the day's course by the students, could be envisaged.





Recommended or required readings

Powerpoint presentations used during each session will be made available to students in read-only mode, accompanied by commentary pages (pdf) where an attempt will be made to transcribe all the explanations that will / would be given in the classroom.
Reference books + web resources.

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

oral exam

Written work / report

Continuous assessment

Additional information:

During the semester, 3 reports are due on pre-determined dates.

The reports are proofread and commented on but not assessed. Comments are to be taken into account for a final report which will be assessed.

A grade will be proposed. If the grade is equal to or higher than 14/20, and the interim reports have all been handed in on time, the student has the option of keeping this grade as the result of the course (exemption from the oral exam).

In all other cases, an oral examination is compulsory, consisting of a presentation of the work (in Powerpoint format or equivalent), followed by questions on it and on the material covered in the course.

For the second session, the oral exam is compulsory, but the report must be submitted in by a deadline to be agreed after the June deliberations in order to be eligible for the oral exam.

The teacher will be particularly attentive to any attempt at fraud, such as plagiarism, paraphrasing or use of AI, both in the reports (interim and final) and in the presentation given at the oral examination. The sanctions provided for in such cases will be strictly applied.





Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

1st semester: Monday 13h30 to 17h30
The course is taught in 10 sessions over 14 weeks of the first term + one afternoon of seminars + one possible session for debriefing the homework before finalizing it.
See also complementary information provided in the section "Mode of delivery".


Serge Brouyère Serge.Brouyere@uliege.be

Association of one or more MOOCs