The British government and other European Union countries brought in a revised Bathing Waters Directive last year with more stringent standards for the quality of our recreational waters including bathing beaches, inland lakes and rivers. Together with the new European Union Water Framework Directive which must be enforced from 2015, experts expect that the quality of bathing, surface and ground water will become much more of an important issue in the near future.
“We already see some designated bathing sites failing the standards,” says Dr Chris Hodgson from the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER) at North Wyke Research Station near Okehampton in Devon. “Partly this can be attributed to low level but widespread sources of contaminated water run-off from agricultural land”.
“This run-off contains harmful and disease-causing bacteria, and typically follows the recycling of livestock manures such as slurry spreading on fields, and from uncontained runoff from farmyards, or from direct faecal deposition by sheep, cattle and other animals as they graze” says Dr Hodgson.
With funding from the Rural Economy and Land Use programme (RELU), the scientists from IGER, Exeter and Lancaster universities have developed a method, called an expert-weighted risk tool, to rank fields and farmyards for the likelihood of indicator bacteria such as E. coli, which they know are only found in faeces and slurries, being transferred to rivers and streams at different times of the year.
Their method was tested on two working farms, and in one the farmyard was identified as having the greatest risk of the bacteria transferring to a stream, while on the second farm the fields posed the greatest risk.
“By checking the concentrations of the indicator bacteria in streams and ditches around the farms we gathered the physical evidence that proved that our expert–weighted risk tool actually works”, says Dr Hodgson.
Because the new system calculates relative spatial risk, rather than being a quantitative predictive model which suggests specifically how much contamination will occur, the developers hope it will assist farmers and land owners to prioritise land that is most ‘risky’ in terms of contributing bacterial contamination to watercourses. This in turn will help focus clean-up and prevention efforts where they are likely to be most effective for improving water quality.
Overall the new tool should help to make recreational waters safer to use, increasing the confidence of tourists, local people and visitors, reducing the cases of illness from contaminated water, and helping to maintain rural communities.
Lucy Goodchild | EurekAlert!
Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz
Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News