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European procedures to river quality assessment

  • Authors (legacy)
    Naddeo V., Zarra T. and Belgiorno V.

The EU directive (2000/60/EC) known as the Water Framework Directive (WFD),
identifies new methodology for monitoring and improving of surface water quality in the
territory. This includes controlling land-based pollutants as well as defining the constraints
for territorial planning. It is, therefore, necessary to know in detail the surface water
quality in order to estimate the possible consequences of a either new civil or industrial
activity to settle in the territory. Thus, investigating methodologies, data analysis
procedures and water quality management tools need to be well defined. The new EU
water framework directive institutionalizes ecosystem-based objectives and planning
processes at the level of the hydro-graphic basin as the basis for water resource
management. It underlines the need for developing adequate biological and ecotoxicological
tests. An ample management strategy of the use of natural resources from
basin ecosystems is also needed. Management programs require a multidisciplinary
approach based on a systematic monitoring of key biological and chemical physical
parameters. On the other hand, only a few suggestions have been proposed for the tools
needed the interpretation of the large amount of environmental data required to obtain the
information for a correct basin management. The creation of innovative decision making
tools for sustainable basin resource utilization is an important challenge for the future
application of the directive.
The aim of this study is to describe the implementation of WFD in European Country, with
a discussion of a case study. To assess the chemical and the ecological status of the
surface water according to WFD-2000, the approache of the EU were discussed. The
influences of the assessment methods on the water quality classes are also showed. In
this context, a brief overview of chemical, physical, and biological monitoring methods,
problems related to implementation of the new directive is done. Salerno district, the
biggest province (4922 Km2) in Southern Italy, was the case study for which water quality
monitoring has been performed on Sele river (Parco del Cilento). Within the period from
February 2001 to April 2004, 6 sampling station were monthly monitored and the water
quality of the rivers was analyzed. The flow of the river as well as physical (pH, water and
air temperatures), chemical (suspended solids, NH4-N, NO2-N, NO3-N, dissolved oxygen
(DO), chemical oxygen demand (COD), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5), phosphate
concentration) and biological (Escherichia coli and the Extended Biotic Index (EBI))
parameters were monitored.
The results obtained allowed us to define the chemical, physical and biological water
quality of the Sele river. At the same time, its classification according to the main WFD
outlines was done. A correlation between biologically determined quality classes and
chemical measurements was observed. The conclusion was that the parameters have to be measured carefully to provide unique definition of environmental status according to
WDF-2000 for a water resource, hence, uniform and unbiased water quality assessment
in the EU will be obtained.

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