Many homeowners worry about the quality of their water supply and the amount of pollution in their area. Water testing is advisable, but water testing doesn’t include a sediment pollution assessment, and this can lead to misleading data. Let’s take a closer look at what a sediment pollution assessment is and how you can take control of your own water quality.

Assessing Surface Water

Recent research from Spain has shown that there is a risk that an existing water quality assessment that does not include a sediment pollution assessment can lead to misclassification. Surface water quality is assessed by its ecological and chemical status. The ecological status is the physical and chemical conditions that will affect the biological quality of water including both oxygen and nutrient levels present. The chemical status of the water is found by determining the levels of pollutants present. The water assessment is based on the environmental quality standards of a number of potentially harmful pollutants.

The Water Framework Directive (WFD)

The WFD issued by the European Union (EU) mandated that member states achieve a set minimum standard for estuaries, inland and coastal areas by 2015. This particular regulation placed a great deal of pressure on many member states, and they struggled to meet the standards listed.

A Spanish research team carried out a thorough investigation of estuaries and coastal areas in the Basque region of North Eastern Spain. The research was focused on long term trends related to sediment and water contamination between 1995 and 2007. It looked at how metal pollutants responded to a variety of water treatment programs. The chemical status of these large bodies of water considered the presence of contaminants, such as mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel, and zinc.

Two approaches were investigated, the first was to use the WFD “one out all out” principle that basically means that the presence of any of those metals over a certain level would cause that water to fail the chemical status standards. The second approach used methodology proposed by the research team to combine the chemical quality of the examined water with the underlying sediment content.

When the first approach was used very few bodies of water in the tested region achieved a good status. Those that did also failed later over time and they could not meet the status required. When the second approach was used more than 50% of the water bodies achieved a good status, and this remained steady over a prolonged period of testing.

What Does This Mean?

The Spanish research team has argued that their approach provides an accurate assessment of the water chemical status in any body of water. This is because water testing in this way allows for a better discrimination between highly polluted water and water which is less polluted and that has a less dramatic impact of flora and fauna. This study also shows that sediment analysis is important when you need to get an accurate assessment of the water quality in a large body of surface water. A sediment pollution assessment could help future researchers to better understand how pollution is affecting aquatic life in our waterways.

If you’re concerned about the presence of sediment and metal contaminants in your water supply talk to a local WQA certified water specialist today. They will understand your local water conditions and they can advise you on the water treatment system that you need to secure a better quality of water for your family.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.