Springe direkt zu Inhalt

Sulphate concentrations in the groundwater of Berlin

Investigation of hydro-geochemical processes of sulphate release, flow patterns and prognosis of the future development of sulphate concentrations in the groundwater 

Original Title

Sulfatkonzentrationen im Berliner Grundwasser

Untersuchung der hydrogeochemischen Prozesse der Sulfatfreisetzung sowie der daraus resultierenden Sulfatströme und Prognose der langfristig zu erwartenden Sulfatkonzentrationen im Grundwasser

Contractoring authority

Senate Department for Urban Development and Environment


09/2011 – 08/2013


Sulphate concentrations in the groundwater of the Berlin aquifer partly exceed the threshold limit value of 240 mg/L and are generated by different sources.

The anthropogenic sulphateinput via dumps of building rubble and debris from the Second World War is the main source of these increased values. The debris contains high amounts of gypsum and is either distributed diffuse (inner-city) or dumped (Teufelsberg in Grunewald forest). The now defunct sewage irrigation fields in the peripheral regions around Berlin are a further source of sulphate release.

Although the geogenic background values for sulphate concentrations in the upper part of the aquifer of Berlin can be estimated to be about 100 mg/l, the concentrations in the entire inner-city area are above 180 mg/l. In Berlin concentrations up to 900 mg/l can be found and in the northern part of the Grunewald forest values up to 600 mg/l are common. Even though dumps of debris do not exist in the south western part of the Grunewald forest, high sulphate concentrations (up to 1000 mg/l) are measured near the western bank of the river Havel. Here the oxidation of sulfide containing organic material is estimated to be the reason for the high sulphate concentrations. The groundwater level drop down as a consequence of drinking water extraction leads to an aeration of the former saturated part of the aquifer.

The objectives of this project are:

  • to identify the heterogeneous sulphate sources with the help of the stable isotope 34S
  • evaluation of the sulphate release capacity taking into account different hydro-geochemical and hydrodynamic conditions
  • development of a prognosis concerning the future trends of sulphate concentrations


Project participants

Prof. Dr. Michael Schneider, Dr. Thomas Taute


Andrea Knappe aknappe@zedat.fu-berlin.de

Tel. +49-30-838 70 613



<< back