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Ecological ‘Clert’ of Works – The importance of monitoring water quality

Updated: Apr 6, 2020

As a child who loved the outdoors, I was regularly told off by my mother for being a ‘clert’ always playing in water and mud. Clert is a Scottish term meaning to be muddy or filthy and often used in reference to children playing with water. Now I earn a living doing just that, but thankfully it is a little more sophisticated.

Why should we monitor water quality?

Despite being a fan of mud, I enjoy drinking clean water like most people. Water is one of (if not the most) important elements to life; required for re-hydration and the base for many meals and products. It’s plain, odourless and tasteless, what’s not to love? Our bodies are approximately 60% while Earth is around 71%. Water is essential to life which is why some scientists are obsessed with confirming traces on Mars.

Knowing the state of water allows informed decision making regarding our well-being and the environment, preventing the spread of illness and health defects. Clean water is also important for the wildlife in which we share our planet, with many species being sensitive and requiring specific optimal conditions to survive. Otters use freshwater to clean their fur, pearl mussels feed on organic particles filtered from water, and salmon require clean water to hatch and grow, to name a few examples.

How do we monitor water quality?

We regularly sample water from sources and select control areas for comparison. Specific to site, we identify sources of (potential) contamination and suggest mitigation measures as appropriate to reduce and eliminate pollution. Pollution is classified as the release of contaminants into the natural environment resulting in undesirable change.

We mainly focus on two elements, pH and turbidity. pH can be tested using a range of techniques and safe water threshold is between 6 and 8. Turbidity is the clearness of water in which drinking conditions are <1FTU and can be affected by suspended particles (pollutants) occurring naturally or from an alternative source.

If you would like assistance or advice on monitoring water quality on your site, then feel free to get in touch.


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