Areas of Work
Isotope Methods to examine Water Damage

In case of damages caused by water, e.g. in buildings, it is often useful to know the origin of the water. An examination of the water that caused the damage can be useful to asses its source (e.g. rainwater, tap water) to prevent further damages.

A simple and often used method to identify the water which caused the damage is the analysis of the isotopes Deuterium and Oxygen-18 in this water. Ideally, also the waters that are suspected to have caused the damage are analyzed.

Isotope Methods to examine Water Damage

By comparison of the isotope signatures of the damage water with the reference waters, the source of the water damage can often be narrowed down. Hereby, evaporation processes causing isotopic fractionation of the damage water have to be considered. The rear projection on the global meteoric water line along an evaporation line (with a typical gradient of 4) often shows the source of damage water.

Furthermore, other processes, e.g. bio-organic activities that lead to an enrichment of Deuterium, can affect the water samples and therefore also have to be considered to improve the assessment.


In some cases it is difficult to get a sample of the damage water itself, e.g. if there is diffuse moisture in a wall. In such cases, we offer absorption bags. These absorption bags can be placed into boreholes in the moist wall for several days, protected against evaporation to the outside. After removal, the absorption bags are sent to our laboratory, where the damage water will be extracted and analyzed for its isotopic composition.