Action Lab: Vester Hjerk, Denmark

The case area is located in the north-western part of Denmark, where the local waterworks Vester Hjerk (in the municipality of Skive) has an abstraction license of 30,000 m3/year and supply the local community with drinking water purely based on groundwater. Covering 85% of the area, intensively managed agriculture is the dominating land use, and both nitrate and pesticides poses a potential risk for the drinking water.

The  main agricultural activity in the areas is cereal production by conventional farming and livestock . Manure from the livestock comprise a substantial part of the N-application, but is supplemented by fertilizers.

The geology generally consists of a quaternary sequence of limited depths overlaying nearly impermeable pre-quaternary clays. Close to the waterworks, buried valleys are found to substantial depth, primarily with clay in-fill. Water is abstracted from two wells screened in a shallow sandy aquifer between 20 and 30m below the surface, which are only moderately protected by a capping clay layer.

The capture zone of the waterworks has been identified as a nitrate vulnerable zone and since the 1980’ties the nitrate concentration has been steadily increasing. In recent years, the nitrate concentration has exceeded 50 mg NO3/l in a few samples and in the past 10 years it has generally

Contaminants found in the action lab relevant for the protection of drinking water is primarily nitrate, while pesticides have only been found in concentrations well below the drinking water standard. With 85% of the land use being intensive agriculture, farming activities is the main source of nitrate.





WaterProtect Core Partners


WaterProtect Core Partner: VITO WaterProtect Core Partner: ILVO WaterProtect Core Partner: EWP WaterProtect Core Partner: CSIC WaterProtect Core Partner: ECOLOGIC


WaterProtect Core Partner: Geus WaterProtect Core Partner:  Inagro WaterProtect Core Partner: PIG WaterProtect Core Partner: Teagasc WaterProtect Core Patner: Università Cattolica