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Name: Damien Mooney

Damien Mooney

Contact Details

Tel: +353 (0)1 8059596 (Teagasc)
Fax: +353 (0)1 8059500
Email: or

Title of Project

Emerging organic contaminants arising in rural environments-investigations in karst and fractured bedrock aquifers

Project details

Emerging organic contaminants (EOC’s) are becoming more and more of a growing international concern with respect to their occurrence in and contamination of groundwater bodies. Due to an ever increasing global population, inevitably there is a demand for more food while utilising less space. In order to improve the efficiency of food production in Ireland, more intensive practices have been introduced. As a result, agro-chemicals which include both veterinary agents and plant protection agents, have now become a critical component in animal husbandry and crop cultivation respectively, which has led to such substances being primary EOCs of concern. The administration and application of such pharmacologically active substances can potentially lead to the occurrence of such drugs in groundwater.
 The primary focus of this project will be on investigating the occurrence in groundwater of agro-chemicals used in Irish agriculture, particularly anti-parasitic agents which represent the most widely use veterinary drugs in Irish agricultural production. This project will focus on investigations in karst and fractured bedrock aquifers throughout Ireland. 
The main objectives of this project include:

  • Investigation of the frequency of occurrence of different compounds and its relationship to the chemical characteristics of the compounds.  
  • Determination of source factors ( point source and diffuse source) involved in contaminant detections (e.g. farmyards and animal waste storage, land spreading of manures and slurries, animal grazing and animal feeding locations)
  • Determination of pathway factors involved in the occurrence of contaminants (e.g. characteristics of soil, Quaternary deposits and bedrock and to also include any seasonal aspects)


Teagasc Food Research Centre Ashtown, Teagasc Johnstown Castle, Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG)

Name of supervisors

Catherine Coxon (PI, TCD), Laurence Gill (co-supervisor, TCD), Karl Richards (Teagasc supervisor, Johnstown Castle), Martin Danaher (Teagasc co-supervisor, Ashtown), Per Erik Mellander ( Teagasc co-supervisor, Johnstown Castle)

Postgraduate personal details

I am a PhD researcher in the Groundwater Research Spoke of the Irish Centre for Applied Geosciences (iCRAG). My background is mainly in the area of analytical chemistry, with my primary degree in Forensic and Environmental Chemistry, B.Sc. (Hons.). I graduated in June 2015 from the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) with a first class honours degree. I have advanced experience in the analysis of veterinary drug residues as a result of working at the State Laboratory’s Veterinary Toxicology Section. I also carried out my undergraduate dissertation at the State Laboratory involving the evaluation of matrix suppression in the analysis of Acetylgestagens in animal fat by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Before joining iCRAG in September 2015 under the supervision of Dr. Catherine Coxon (Trinity College Dublin), I also gained experience in residue analysis at Teagasc Food Research Centre Ashtown. My previous work and interest in veterinary residues has now led me on to this new opportunity where I will examine the occurrence of such contaminants in groundwater.

Project Start Date

September 2015


This is a joint project between Trinity College Dublin and Teagasc through the Walsh Fellowship scheme and it forms part of the Groundwater Spoke of the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG), which is funded under the SFI Research Centres Programme and is co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund together with industry partners.