Anabela Cachada
Ruth Pereira, Nuno Durães, Carla Patinha
SSTemWater – Sources and Short-term TEMporal evolution of GroundWATER contamination in Estarreja region
The Estarreja Chemical Complex (ECC), composed essentially by chemical plants that produce, among others, aniline, nitrobenzene, PVC, isocyanide polymers of aromatic base and polystyrene polymers for thermal isolation, has been pointed as a major threat to the environment and to public health in the region. For decades, the different ECC industries disposed off solid wastes directly on the permeable sands without containment, and untreated liquid effluents were discharged directly on streams connected to the coastal lagoon. Due to the geological features (unconsolidated detritic sedimentary rocks) of this region, that allows the contaminant’s dispersion, there is a high vulnerability of the aquifer to environmental hazards. Although waste management practices improved significantly in the last years, there are still signs of groundwater contamination. Indeed, previous studies indicate that the ECC is a vulnerable area due to the presence of multiple pressures (agriculture, industry and urban activities) and hotspots of organic and inorganic contaminants were already identified. However, there is a space-temporal variation of these hotspots that was not yet fully understood and it is not clear yet how contaminants are reaching the aquifer. Thus, this project aims at understand the dynamics behind the groundwater contamination and the processes that result in specific hotspots, and consequently identify sources and pathways of contaminants. Moreover, since some of the contaminants previously identified are classified as carcinogenic and highly toxic, the potential risks to the environment and human health will be also evaluated.
Projet OHMs
OHM(s) concerné(s)
  • OHM Estarreja
Chimie, Écologie, Géologie, Santé publique


Anabela Cachada PhD is a researcher in the area of Risk Assessment and Soil Pollution at CIIMAR & University of Porto (Portugal). She has a PhD in Chemistry (University of Aveiro, Portugal), a Master in Geochemistry (University of Aveiro, Portugal), and a degree in Environmental Engineering and of the Natural Resources (University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal). She has been working during several years on soil pollution, particularly with organic contaminants. Nowadays she is particularly interested in the risk assessment of contaminated soils and in the understanding about how soil pollution affect ecosystem services. She participated in 23 multidisciplinary research projects (including two European funded projects), related to soil pollution monitoring and with the behavior of contaminants in the environment. She is the author/co-author of 31 papers published in international journals indexed in Science Citation Index (h-index 15), two book chapters, and she has 25 oral communications and 56 poster presentations in international conferences. Anabela Cachada is member of the national committee at ISO/TC 190. She is also an editorial Board Member of the journal Data in Brief (Elsevier) and of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (MDPI).


Carla Alexandra de Figueiredo Patinha have a Degree in Geological Engineering by the University of Aveiro, M.Sc. degree in Geochemistry and a PhD in Earth Sciences by the same institution. In June of 2005 began her activities at Geosciences Department of the University of Aveiro as Superior technician, assuming the management of geochemistry and hydrochemistry laboratories at the University of Aveiro. Since October 2018, she is Assistant Professor at Geosciences Department of the University of Aveiro.
Her main areas of scientific activity have been the development on new analytical methodologies, environmental geochemistry and health and urban geochemistry. Present research interests include research on human bioaccessibility, solid-phase distribution of potentially harmful elements to human health, and health risk assessment studies on ground-level /household dusts and water. She is member of the International Association of Medical Geology, member of the Bioaccessibility...