Exploring reservoirs has become even easier!

Submitted by Александр Есипёнок on Thu, 09/02/2021 - 13:37

We have published a series of videos on our YouTube channel with a detailed description of some methods for studying the state of water bodies (the "River Watch" program).

With support of these video methods, you will be able to quickly learn how to use the tools and reagents that the Friends of the Baltic team has and that we provide free of charge to volunteer teams of River Watchers.

If you want to become a volunteer of the River Watch program, fill out the form (in Russian) and we will contact you.

Learn more about the methods:

 

  1. Determination of the dissolved oxygen content in water.

Oxygen is necessary for the respiration of hydrobionts. A decrease in its concentration indicates a change in biological processes in the reservoir, its contamination with intensively oxidizing organic substances. Lack of oxygen affects the diversity of fish, aquatic animals and chemical processes occurring in the water. For most fish, for example, the critical limit of oxygen in water is 3-4 mg/l.

 

  1. Methodology for monitoring marine litter.

About 8 million tons of plastic enter the world's oceans every year, with most (more than 80 %) of the waste entering the ocean from land. This is due to the wind, rivers and human activity. To understand where the garbage in the water and on the shores comes from, and how to solve this problem, it is necessary to investigate the types of garbage and its origin.
The methodology reflects an international approach to marine litter research.

 

  1. Measurement of the content of nitrates, nitrites and ammonium in water.

Nitrogen compounds in reservoirs caused by external sources are converted from one form to another. For example, during the first hours after the manure or sewage from toilets enters the water, an increased content of ammonium cations is detected, then the ammonium cations pass into nitrites, and then almost immediately into nitrates. Thus, nitrates are a cumulative characteristic, and it is the easiest to investigate.
The increased content of nitrates in the water can serve as an indicator of pollution of the reservoir as a result of the spread of household, agricultural, and industrial pollution. 
Sources of water pollution with nitrates are also surface runoff from pastures, cattle yards, dairy farms, etc. Nitrates accelerate the eutrophication of reservoirs, stimulate the mass development of aquatic vegetation (especially blue-green algae).

 

  1. Measurement of the phosphate content in water

Excessive ingress of phosphorus compounds from fields, with farm effluents, with untreated or untreated domestic wastewater, as well as with some industrial effluents leads to a sharp uncontrolled increase in the plant biomass of a water body. There is an increase in the mass of algae (overgrowth of the reservoir), the restructuring of the entire aquatic community, the predominance of putrefactive processes and, accordingly, an increase in turbidity, salinity, and bacterial concentration.

 

  1. Measurement of the hydrogen index of water acidity (pH).

In rivers, under normal conditions, the pH value usually ranges from 6.5 to 8.5. The pH value outside this range is unfavorable for hydrobionts. The pH value depends on many factors, including the activity of plants. Plants absorb carbon dioxide from water during the day and reduce its acidity — the pH increases, at night the reverse process occurs. Increased acidity can be caused by acid precipitation and man-made runoff, the ingress of untreated wastewater from industrial enterprises into reservoirs. 

 

  1. Measurement of the total hardness and mineralization of water.

The value of water hardness can vary widely depending on the type of rocks and soils composing the catchment basin, as well as on the season of the year, weather conditions. The hardness increases due to the evaporation of water, decreases during the rainy season, during the melting of snow. Water from different natural sources has very different hardness.
The mineralization of water is of crucial importance in the characterization of the chemical composition of water. Water analyses for the content of mineral components are carried out in different periods of the year. 

The videos were created with the support of the project "Water meets people: learn, act and influence" (SEVIRA), the Water Program of Belarus and Russia, as well as the EU-Russia cross-border cooperation program.