Keywords: urban rivers, water quality assessment, contamination critical zones, pollutant transport, water pollution, Argentina, sanitation planning, statistical analysis, geospatial analysis, pollution monitoring, aquatic life, untreated effluent, organic effluent
Water quality assessment of a polluted urban river
Urban rivers in Latin America are heavily impacted by human activities that affect their functions and services. This paper shows the results of a water quality assessment for the Reconquista River, the second most polluted urban river in Argentina. They allowed the identification of the main processes of transport of pollutants and the prioritisation of different areas of the basin for interventions in a future sanitation plan. The following assessment tools were used: a Water Quality Index (WQI); geospatial and statistical analysis of the environmental parameters; and determination of critical points of the system. The implementation of these tools required 32 physicochemical and microbiological parameters that were measured in six monitoring campaigns from a monitoring network composed of 12 sites. Results show that water quality decreased from fair to very poor, with reference to protection of aquatic life; mainly due to the impact produced by the discharge of organic untreated effluents.