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ATOIS TECHNICAL SUMMARY

Mass Balances


Introduction

The information in this text is a Technical summary of the work undertaken in the EU FP6 project AquaTerra (Project 
number GOCE505428), which ran from April 2005 until March 2009. The aim of this technical summary is to provide a
concise account of the range and nature of the work undertaken in the project relating to the subject of SOIL: the
intention is to make the work of AquaTerra more accessible to a wider audience. This document should be read with
a view to following up the work it describes in more detail through the specific project deliverables, which if publically
available can be downloaded from the main project website:
http://www.eu-aquaterra.de.

Click here to download a pdf file of the full technical summary

Background

The term mass balance is used to describe the overall net balance of input to and output from a system of a substance, 
and by association the volume of that substance remaining in the system. The generic equation of mass balance is
that Input minus output equals the volume accumulated within the system. This not to say that the accumulated material
is stored in the system; rather that processes which lead to input either exceed or do not exceed the removal processes.
In the case of the former, the mass balance increases, in the latter the mass balance in the system decreases.

Mass balances are widely used in environmental science to assess the transport of substances such as water or
contaminants through environmental systems, such as an aquifer. Understanding the rate, pattern and scale of
the movement of water and other substances through the environment is a vital part of being able to anticipate, prevent
or treat pollution in the environment, or increase the rate of transformation of pollution that already exists.

A variety of work was undertaken in AquaTerra to assess the movement of pesticides and water. This took place within
the HYDRO, COMPUTE, TREND, FLUX and BASIN sub-projects and was centred on the Brévilles and Ebro catchments. The
work is described in more detail in the sections below.

Click here to download a pdf file of the full technical summary

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