Bathing Water Catchment monitoring
Location: Bude Cornwall UK
Purpose: To carry out a river survey identifying potential pollution sources and their likely impact on bathing waters downstream.
STS and the Environment Agency have, for some time, been discussing the issue of monitoring water courses which discharge directly into bathing waters. Of particular interest are water courses where known sources of potential pollution exist from sewage treatment works, storm drain overflows, agricultural activity such as slurry pits or illegal discharges.
The problem with such activity is that it is often sporadic occurring after heavy rain events or cyclical such as farms clearing yard areas to slurry pits which are leaking or consequently overflow. Monitoring such events is therefore difficult using current techniques for identifying organic matter such as the standard 5 day BOD test.
A regulatory officer needs to be able to rapidly identify that there is a problem likely to lead to – or already in breach of discharge consents. Taking a sample for lab analysis may well prove that there was an incident somewhere up stream of the monitoring point but it does not enable the officer to follow that event back to source.
Further, the cost and time implications of multiple sampling and analysis often prevent root causes of pollution from being traced and dealt with at source.