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River water quality determination using saprobic indices

work done in co-operation with the Main State Ecological Inspectorate, Kiev

So far, the control of the ecological status of rivers in Ukraine focuses on the investigation of water quality. The main method for its determination is the chemical analysis. The results are reported (from several state control organs) to the Ministry for Environmental Protection of Ukraine in Kiev and used for statistical calculations. The frequency of sampling is however not always sufficient for statistical evaluations. Additionally, samples are collected for the hygienical and hydrobiological determination of water quality aspects. As Ukraine intends to approach to environmental control and management procedures as used in the EU, it will be necessary to adopt a complete new system of assessments as specified in the Water Framework Directive (WFD) [1]. The WFD sets frames,  the practical procedures are described in various guidance documents.

Therefore, this page was designed to make materials available for further discussions in Ukraine. It shows a few practical examples of monitoring using biological and chemical methods. For the determination of bio-indicators (to calculate thesaprobic index) the revised list of taxa in combination with the calculation formula of Zelinka and Marvan (1961) has been used.

Water quality classifications in accordance with the WFD related to reference waters were carried out and published [2]. Kiev city rivers have been selected as examples. The used methods must still be considered as propositions needing adaptation to the Ukrainian situation.

 


The first map shows urban running waters. Sometimes they are polluted by waste water, mineral oil and surface run-off. In winter, road salt and brook salinisation are a serious problem. In many cases, river beds are changed into concrete channels (river Libid) or fish ponds (river Nivka). Another problem of concern is the erosion of soils in the catchment area and heavy loads with clay and silt. The catchments of the four main city rivers are shown here.


 

The next maps show the very first overview of river water quality classes and the related sampling points in a wider area, in the "Kiev oblast". In most cases, rivers seem to be in a more natural state and often they look like unchanged at all. In spring, river and snow melt water cover bigger parts of the floodplains that are available for meandering as well. Anthropogenic impacts  in the river basin are sometimes the reason for abnormally high soil erosion. They are not further considered here.

Main problem of water quality is the influence of agriculture and following eutrophication. Within the villages, river banks are often loaded with waste deposits and dams are constructed. In places of reduced water velocity, sediments are deposed that are rich in organic matter and decrease the habitat quality.

The habitat assessments using German literature (LAWA 1998) [3] and assessment software from the Landesamt fuer Wasserwirtschaft, Muenchen have been carried out for the brooks and streams of the Ukrainian capital Kiev. First results in [2].

The quality status of the r. Dnepr is not shown in the map. Between the reservoirs, the Dnepr can be classified as beta-meso-saprobic.

ko-farbe.gif (22519 bytes)

(Above:)  First overview of river water quality in the Kiev "Oblast"

sampling points and links to result pages

TEST - map showing the sampling points in the Kiev "Oblast".  Click on the area of interest for further details!

 

Contributions to the discussion on classification schemes

Within the European Union, only five classes should be determined to describe the ecological state of a river

(s. EC Water Framework Directive, annex V).

The five classes and colours to be used to describe the ecological state are:
high/excellent...... blue
good........................ green
moderate/fair..... yellow
poor........................ orange
bad/very poor..... red

Five classes have already been used in Germany more than 30 years ago. The relationship water quality / chemical load was based on statistical calculations.

Tab. 2: Classification of organic loads and their degradation products (medians) as used in Baden-Wuerttemberg (LfU, BW), Germany in 1990 and  - for comparison -  in the State of the Environment report * (Victoria's Inland Waters), US

class

 quality Colour

TOC

BOD5

O2

NH4-N

NO2-N

PO4-P

reactive P *

I

High blue

1,6

1,1

8

0,10

0,006

0,06

<0,008

II

Good  green

2,0

2,0

6

0,15

0,017

0,10

<0,020

III

Moderate yellow

2,7

3,3

4

0,20

0,06

0,30

<0,040

IV

Poor  orange

4,5

7,1

2

1,50

0,14

1,15

<0,08

V

bad.  Red

9,4

11,2

< 2

1,90

0,28

2,50

  0,08

In Ukraine, the use of five classes is also recommended in a guidance document. As an example, the chemical classification of BOD5 and ammonia is given in the following table, compared with the former German classification.

Tab. 3: Comparison of water quality classes for BOD5 and NH4-N levels in BW (FRG) and Ukraine (UA)

class

BOD5 

BOD5 

 

NH4-N

NH4-N

 

FRG

UA

 

FRG

UA

 

median

min-max

 

median

min-max

I

1,1

< 1,0

 

0,1

< 0,1

II

2,0

1,0-2,1

 

0,15

0,1-0,3

III

3,3

2,2-7,0

 

0,20

0,31-1,0

IV

7,1

7,1-12,0

 

1,5

1,01-2,5

V

11,2

12,0

 

1,9

2,5

For the future classification, based on the saprobe index, the following table is presented.

Tab. 4: Proposal for the relation water quality class - saprobe index and comparison with the Ukrainian classification

class

term colour  

saprobe index

saprobe index

       

proposal

UA

I

high blue  

1,0- <1,8

< 1,0

II

good  green  

1,8- <2,3(?)

1,0-2,0

III

moderate yellow  

2,3(?)- <3,2

2,1-3,0

IV

poor  orange  

3,2- <3,5

3,1-3,5

V

bad  red  

3,5- <4,0

> 3,5

The Ukrainian classification draws a too bad picture for the classes I, II, III. The border between class II and III should be further discussed. Following the WFD, the new classification schemes will be related to eco-regions, selected reference waters and inter-calibration results.

more information? --->

[2] М. Хоффманн,  В. Раков (2006): Определение экологического состояния малых рек в черте г. Киева в соответствии с европейской водной рамочной директивой  (WFD) Journal of Hydrobiology T. 39, No.4, Kiev, S. 82-90 ( in Russian, English version is published by Begell House, Inc. USA).

[3] Laenderarbeitsgemeinschaft Wasser (LAWA) (1998): Gewaesserstrukturguetekartierung in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

[4] URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/1470160X  Site title: ECOLOGICAL INDICATORS - New International Journal and     Ecological Indicators - Elsevier


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last update  2015
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