Water Monitoring is essential to ensure the continued availability of clean, safe, and sustainable water sources. We rely on this comprehensive process for public water safety. In this blog, we will delve deeper into the world of water monitoring to better understand its significance.
The Importance of Water Monitoring for Different Bodies Of Water
Water monitoring serves numerous purposes, such as safeguarding public health by detecting contaminants in drinking water, protecting ecosystems by identifying pollution sources, and supporting various industries by ensuring compliance with water quality standards. Technological advancements have made real-time data collection and analysis more accessible, improving our ability to address water-related challenges efficiently.
Water Monitoring For Different Bodies of Water
Water monitoring for different bodies of water requires different parameters for each specific water body in Ireland, which are discussed in this blog. Specific parameter testing is essential for water monitoring for different bodies of water because it allows for accurate and context-specific assessments, addressing the unique characteristics and potential challenges associated with each water source.
Ireland’s river network spans over 73,000 km, with the Shannon River being the longest and largest, discharging an incredible volume of water into the sea. The national rivers monitoring program, managed by the EPA, focuses on main river channels, encompassing biological, physical, and chemical parameters to assess water quality.
- Biological monitoring occurs every three years: Invertebrates (animals without a backbone, such as mayflies or worms), Aquatic plants, Diatoms (a type of algae), and Fish (monitored by Inland Fisheries Ireland).
- Physical and chemical parameters are measured multiple times annually: Dissolved oxygen, Nutrients (such as nitrogen and phosphorus), Hazardous substances, Temperature, and pH (acidity).
Ireland boasts over 12,000 lakes, with Lough Corrib being the largest, holding around 800 billion litres of water, a vital source for two million people. The EPA runs a national lake monitoring program, covering 224 lakes, assesses a variety of ecological and physical parameters, ensuring the responsible management of this vital freshwater resource. Parameters include
- Plants and Animals once every three years: Phytoplankton (tiny, free-floating plants), Diatoms (type of algae), Aquatic plants, Invertebrates, and Fish (monitored by Inland Fisheries Ireland).
- Chemical and Physical Parameters are measured several times a year: Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, Dissolved oxygen, Temperature, Water clarity, and Colour.
- Hydrological Parameters: For more on parameters for Water Levels.
Groundwater, essential for drinking, agriculture, and sustaining ecosystems, originates from rainfall and snowmelt, and during dry periods, it feeds streams and rivers. In Ireland, the EPA manages groundwater within 514 bodies, monitoring quality and levels at approximately 330 stations, safeguarding this vital resource from pollution caused by various human activities.
- Standard Suite (tested 3 times a year)- pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, orp, coliform bacteria, e.coli, alkalinity, total hardness, colour, turbidity, total oxidised nitrogen (as N), ammonium, nitrite, nitrate, total phosphorus, ortho-phosphate, total organic carbon, silica, chloride, fluoride, sulphate, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, boron, aluminium, chromium, nickel, copper, zinc, arsenic, cadmium, antimony, barium, lead, uranium, mercury, cobalt, molybdenum, strontium, silver (stopped in 2013), beryllium, selenium, thallium, vanadium.
- Additional Suite (tested every 6 years)- pesticides, organic compounds (including PFAS), pharmaceutical compounds.
Estuaries and Costal Waters
Ireland boasts a vast and ecologically significant coastline, with a seabed territory exceeding 880,000 km2, contributing to an ocean economy valued at approximately €1.8 billion in 2016. The National Marine Monitoring Programme, coordinated by the EPA, involves various organisations and focuses on ecological health in transitional and coastal waters. This monitoring program covers 80 estuaries and 46 coastal waters, tracking a wide range of biological communities and chemical measurements.
- The biological parameters include: Tiny free-floating plants, Animals without a backbone living in the bottom muds (benthic invertebrates), Fish, Opportunistic seaweeds (seaweeds that grow very quickly when environmental conditions suit, causing large accumulations of plant matter such as sea lettuce), Rocky shore seaweeds, Seagrass (the only true marine plant found in Irish waters), Saltmarsh (a community of salt tolerant plants that form a band along the upper tidal limit of water bodies).
- The monitoring programme also measures: Dissolved oxygen, Nutrients, including nitrogen and phosphorus, and Specific chemical pollutants.
How Southern Scientific Services Provide Essential Water Monitoring for Different Bodies of Water?
Southern Scientific Services is a leading provider of water monitoring solutions, offering a range of products and services to support efficient and accurate water quality assessment. Here’s how Southern Scientific Services contributes to water monitoring for different bodies of water: