Water Status 2007-2009

 

Water Framework Status Update

based on

 

Monitoring Results 2007-2009

 

Aquatic Environment Unit,

Office of Environmental Assessment

of the

Environmental Protection Agency.

Ecological Status and Chemical Status of Surface Waters

and

Chemical and Quantitative Status of Groundwaters.

Prepared in fulfilment of Articles 24 and 25 of SI 272 of 2009

 

21 June 2011

EPA Wexford

 

 

ISBN: 978-1-84095-406-7

Free of charge

 

Contents

Contents

Water Framework Status Update. 2

Monitoring Results 2007-2009. 2

2.1 Rivers – Biological Quality Elements 11

Macroinvertebrates 11

(Composition and Abundance of Benthic Invertebrate Fauna) 11

EPA Quality Rating System (Q-Value) 11

Freshwater Pearl Mussel Metrics 11

Macrophytes and Phytobenthos 13

(Composition and abundance of aquatic flora) 13

Mean Trophic Rank (MTR) 13

Filamentous Algal Index (FAI) 13

Canonical correspondence analysis-Based Assessment System (CBAS) 13

Macrophyte Index System (MIS) 14

River Trophic Diatom Index - RTDI 14

Fish. 15

(Composition, abundance and age structure of fish fauna) 15

Fish versus EPA Quality Rating System and Expert opinion. 15

Fisheries Classification Scheme 2 (Ireland) 15

2.2 Rivers - Chemical and Physico-Chemical Elements Supporting the Biological Elements 17

General Conditions - Oxygenation and Nutrient Conditions 17

Oxygenation and Nutrient Conditions (‘Organic Enrichment’) Ortho-phosphate, Nitrate, Total Ammonia, BOD, Dissolved Oxygen. 17

General Conditions - Acidification Status 17

pH. 17

General Conditions - Thermal conditions 18

Temperature. 18

General Conditions - Salinity. 18

Conductivity Measurement or Chloride. 18

2.3 Rivers – Specific Pollutants 19

Specific Pollutants 19

All priority substances plus other pollutant substances discharged in significant quantities 19

2.4 Rivers – Hydromorphological elements supporting the biological elements 20

Hydromorphology. 20

Rapid Hydromorphology Assessment Technique (RHAT) 20

3.1 Lakes – Biological quality elements 22

Macrophytes and Phytobenthos -  (Composition and abundance of other aquatic flora) 22

Free Macrophyte Index 22

Lake Trophic Diatom Index – LTDI 22

Phytoplankton -  (Composition, abundance and biomass of phytoplankton) 23

Chlorophyll a. 23

Irish Phytoplankton Index (IPI) 23

Invertebrates - (Composition and abundance of benthic invertebrate fauna) 24

Chironomid Pupal Exuvial Technique (CPET) 24

Stony Shore Invertebrates, 24

Profundal Invertebrates 24

Invertebrates (Zebra Mussels) 24

Fish - (Composition, abundance and age structure of fish fauna) 26

FIL (Fish in Lakes classification tool) 26

Fish in Lakes Classification Tool 2 (FIL2) 26

3.2 LAKES – Chemical and physico-chemical elements supporting the biological elements 28

General Conditions - Oxygenation Conditions 28

95%ile of Dissolved Oxygen Percent Saturation. 28

General Conditions - Nutrient Conditions 28

Average Total Phosphorus 28

Total Ammonia. 28

General Conditions - Acidification Status (pH) 29

pH. 29

General Conditions - Thermal Conditions 29

Temperature °C. 29

Transparency. 29

Secchi Disk. 29

General Conditions - Salinity. 29

Conductivity Measurement or Chloride. 29

3.3 Lakes – Specific Pollutants 31

Specific Pollutants 31

All priority substances plus other pollutant substances discharged in significant quantities 31

3.4 Lakes – Hydromorphological elements supporting the biological elements 32

Hydromorphological elements 32

LHS (Lake Habitat Survey)/MImAS. 32

Lake Residence Time and Lake Depth Variation. 32

Quantity and dynamics of water flow. 32

4.1 Transitional Waters – Biological quality elements 35

Composition and abundance of Macroalgae and Angiosperms 35

Opportunistic Macroalgal Growth (OGA) 35

Intertidal Seagrass (SG) 35

Composition, abundance and biomass of phytoplankton. 36

Chlorophyll 36

Elevated Phytoplankton taxa cell counts 36

Composition and abundance of benthic invertebrate fauna. 37

Infaunal Quality Index (IQI) 37

Composition and abundance of fish fauna. 38

Transitional Fish Classification Index (TFCI) 38

4.2 Transitional waters - Chemical and physico-chemical elements supporting the biological elements 39

Chemical and physico-chemical elements supporting the biological elements 39

General Conditions – Nutrient Conditions 39

Molybdate Reactive Phosphorus (MRP) 39

General Conditions – Oxygenation Conditions 39

Dissolved Oxygen (DO) 39

Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) 39

General Conditions - Thermal Conditions, Transparency, Salinity. 39

Temperature °C, Secchi Disk, Conductivity/Salinity meter 39

4.3 Transitional Waters – Hydromorphological Elements Supporting the Biological Elements 41

Hydromorphological elements supporting the biological elements 41

Transitional and Coastal Waters Morphology Impact Assessment System (MimAS) 41

Hydromorphological elements supporting the biological elements - 41

Morphological Conditions and Tidal Regime. 41

4.4 Transitional waters – Specific Pollutants 43

Specific Pollutants 43

All priority substances plus other pollutant substances discharged in significant quantities 43

5.1 Coastal Waters – Biological Quality Elements 45

Composition and abundance of Macroalgae and Angiosperms 45

Reduced Species List (RSL) 45

Opportunistic Macroalgal Growth (OGA) 45

Intertidal Seagrass (SG) 45

Composition, abundance and biomass of phytoplankton. 47

Chlorophyll 47

Elevated Phytoplankton taxa cell counts 47

Composition and abundance of benthic invertebrate fauna. 48

Infaunal Quality Index (IQI) 48

5.2 Coastal Waters - Chemical and physico-chemical elements supporting the biological elements 49

General Conditions - Nutrient Conditions 49

Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen (DIN) 49

General Conditions - Oxygen Conditions 49

Dissolved Oxygen (DO) 49

5.3 Coastal Waters - Hydromorphological elements supporting the biological elements 50

Morphological Conditions and Tidal Regime. 50

Transitional and Coastal  Morphology Impact Assessment System (MImAS) 50

Hydromorphological elements supporting the biological elements - 50

Morphological Conditions and Tidal Regime. 50

5.4 Coastal waters – Specific Pollutants 52

Specific Pollutants 52

All priority substances plus other pollutant substances discharged in significant quantities 52

6.1 Artificial Waterbodies - Canals 54

Macroinvertebrates and Supporting Physico-chemical elements 54

6.2 Heavily Modified Waterbodies – Lakes and Reservoirs 55

Biological Quality elements and Supporting Physico-chemical elements 55

As outlined for lakes 55

6.2 Heavily Modified Waterbodies – Transitional and Coastal Waters. 56

Biological Quality elements and Supporting Physico-chemical elements 56

As outlined for transitional and coastal waters 56

7.1 Surface Water Chemical Status 58

Priority Substances (including priority hazardous substances) measured in surface waters. 58

Priority Substances 58

Priority Substances and Priority Hazardous Substances 58

8.2 Groundwater – Chemical Status Tests 60

Saline Intrusion. 60

Surface Water 60

Groundwater Dependent Terrestrial Ecosystems 61

Drinking Water 61

General Chemical 62

8.3 Groundwater – Quantitative Status Tests 65

Saline Intrusion. 65

Surface Water 65

Groundwater Dependent Terrestrial Ecosystems 66

Water Balance. 66

8.4 Groundwater – Assessment of Trends and Trend Reversal 68

Environmentally and Statistically Significant Upward Trends 68

Trend Reversal 69

 


 

 

Section 1. Introduction


This document provides an update of status for Irish surface and groundwaters for the period 2007-2009, the first three years of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) monitoring programme.

 

Results are presented for each water category – groundwater, rivers, lakes, transitional and coastal waters and canals recognised by the Water Framework Directive. Each water category is reported upon separately taking the relevant quality elements required for that water category – as defined in Annex V of the WFD in §1.1 for surface waters and §2.1 for groundwaters. Insofar as possible the original phrasing and terminology of the WFD text is used when referring to quality elements in particular. Ecological status and chemical status are dealt with separately for surface waters. In the case of groundwater status chemical and quantitative status are treated separately.

 

The main report is essentially a set of links to more detailed information on the status results and methodologies used to defined status. Extensive use is made of hyperlinks to these supporting documents, which provide the actual surface and groundwater status results for individual waterbodies. The methodologies and results are presented in a variety of formats including maps, reports and tables. Maps and tables in GIS format compatible with those in use by the River Basin Districts (RBDs) will also be made available to the RBD GIS offices.

 

The report is produced in fulfilment of a requirement of Articles 24 and 25 of SI 272 of 2009 to classify waterbodies in terms of their ecological status, ecological potential as applicable and chemical status.

 

“24. The Agency shall, by not later than 22 June 2011, classify in accordance with the requirements of these Regulations each surface water body identified for the purposes of Article 7 of the 2003 Regulations according to its ecological status, or its ecological potential as the case may be, and its chemical status

 

25. The classification of the status for a surface water body shall be based on the results of the monitoring programmes prepared by the Agency in accordance with Article 10 of the 2003 Regulations and other relevant information, including monitoring and assessments undertaken in relation to associated protected areas.

 

The results reported here are not, however, seen as affecting the formal legal status of waterbodies already reported by the River Basin Districts in the River Basin Management Plans.

 

The EPA will provide regular progress reports providing a rolling three-year update on status as each year’s new monitoring results become available and are analysed. The need to monitor the effectiveness or otherwise of the WFD Programmes of Measures put in place in the RBMPs is critical in order to ensure that programmes of measures are as focussed and as effective as possible. Status updates such as this will provide feedback to water managers in local authorities and other public bodies charged with implementing programmes of measures.

 

As the biological intercalibration exercise for surface waters is still in progress at European Level under the aegis of the ECOSTAT Working Group, some methods are not yet ready for use in the monitoring programme. These are indicated below under the appropriate heading. A target date of December 2011 is set for completion of the second round of intercalibration and a new formal EU Decision is due by late 2012. It is envisaged that new assessment methods for all water categories will be developed during the second river basin planning cycle.

 

Note that this document requires internet access to access the document store of tables, maps and information regarding methods.



 


 

Section 2. Rivers

Biological Quality Elements: Martin McGarrigle[1], John Lucey, Catherine Bradley, Patricia McCreesh, Bryan Kennedy, Fiona Kelly,

Chemical Quality Elements:  Colman Concannon, Darragh Cunningham, Ray Smith, Caroline Bowden, Jean Smith, Peter Webster, Regina McGinn, Carol O’Sullivan.

 

 

 


 

 

2.1 Rivers – Biological Quality Elements

         

Rivers

Quality Element:

Macroinvertebrates

(Composition and Abundance of Benthic Invertebrate Fauna)

Method

EPA Quality Rating System (Q-Value)

Pressure

Organic enrichment, toxicity, general degradation

Description

The EPA Quality Rating System is based on the sensitivity of macroinvertebrates to pollution. It is primarily an indicator of organic enrichment – nutrient and oxygen conditions but can also indicate toxic effects (e.g. sheep dip pesticides, heavy metals).

Reference to Method

A broad outline of the method is given in e.g. Toner et al. Water Quality in Ireland 2001-2003 published by EPA, Wexford. The method is an expert system approach that assigns status based on departure of the invertebrate community from reference conditions, including both geographic/typological and temporal.

Results

Macroinvertebrate status results are included in the main river waterbody status dataset under the quality element ‘Macroinvertebrates’ in the Rivers Results Table. River by river status broken down by channel length based on macroinvertebrate status is also given in Appendix 3.2 of Water Quality in Ireland 2007-2009.

A map of overall ecological status is given for the 2007-2009 period with individual maps for each River Basin District: ERBD, SERBD, SWRBD, WRBD, SHRBD, NWRBD, NBRBD. These maps are based on the one-out all-out principle combining all of the quality elements according to the combination rules given here.

 

 

Method

Freshwater Pearl Mussel Metrics

Pressure

Siltation and eutrophication

Description

A number of metrics were measured uniquely in Freshwater Pearl Mussel (FPM) SACs in the preparation of sub-basin plans for these catchments.

      population abundance

      population length frequency distribution

      presence of juveniles as an indicator of recruitment

      dead shells

A range of environmental variables are measured and in particular, pressures relevant to the survival of FPM were also measured:

      Degree of silt release

      Redox potential

      Algal cover

      Macrophytes

Reference to Method

Details of the methodology used is available in – National Parks and Wildlife Service - Freshwater pearl mussel monitoring methods.

 

Results

Results are included in main river waterbody status table – Macroinvertebrates – Margaritifera.  In general most freshwater pearl mussel populations surveyed were at moderate status as they are deemed to be at unfavourable conservation status. (This departure from reference conditions is based primarily on the lack of recent recruitment which indicates that these populations will eventually die out if measures are not taken to reduce siltation and eutrophication in these catchments.)

 

 

Combination Rules for Quality Element Macroinvertebrates

The EPA Quality Rating System (Q-Value) results are combined with the Freshwater Pearl Mussel assessment result on a one-out-all-out-basis – i.e. the lower status of the two assessments was used where the two metrics were available. (Not all river waterbodies will have populations of Margaritifera.)

 

 

 


 

 

Rivers

Quality Element:

Macrophytes and Phytobenthos

(Composition and abundance of aquatic flora)

Method 1

Mean Trophic Rank (MTR)

Pressure

Eutrophication

Description

MTR scores plants based on their nutrient tolerance/sensitivity and weights them by their coverage to provide a site score indicative of nutrient conditions.

Reference to Method

Mean Trophic Rank (Star Project methodology).

Holmes NTH, Newman JR, Chadd S, Rouen KJ, Saint L and Dawson FH (1999). Mean Trophic Rank: A User’s Manual. R&D Technical Report E38. Environment Agency, Bristol.

 

Results

The method is still in the process of being intercalibrated and is not included in ecological status assessments. Intercalibration is due to complete in Dec 2011.

 

 

Method 2

Filamentous Algal Index (FAI)

Pressure

Enrichment

Description

Index based on filamentous algae abundance and taxonomic composition.

Reference to Method

In development. Filamentous algae are part of the phytobenthos quality element of aquatic plants but also act as a pressure in their own right by covering the substratum and impacting on e.g. spawning gravel for salmonids. Abundance of benthic filamentous algae Cladophora, Vaucheria, Batrochospermum and a range of green filamentous algae Spirogyra, Ulothrix, etc., will be considered.

 

 

Method 3

Canonical correspondence analysis-Based Assessment System (CBAS)

Description

CBAS: Canonical correspondence analysis-Based Assessment System. A statistical model that utilises existing survey data to calculate optima of species along different impact gradients. These optima are then used to determine diagnostic metrics that indicate the likely impacts occurring at a survey site (RepS). These metrics can then be combined to produce an Ecological Quality Ratio.

Reference to Method

CBAS NSSHARE Project Output. A more comprehensive background document on the development of CBAS is also available Dodkins and Rippey 2007.

Results

Not in use as of yet – under consideration for future surveys.

 

 

Method 4

Macrophyte Index System (MIS)

Pressure

Organic Pollution

Description

Based on the sensitivities of indicator macrophyte species to organic pollution.

Reference to Method

Caffrey J.M. 1987. Macrophytes as indicators or organic pollution in Irish rivers.

Results

Not in use as of yet – under consideration for future surveys.

 

 

Method 5

River Trophic Diatom Index - RTDI

Pressure

Responds to enrichment pressure – eutrophication.

Description

Based on the sensitivities of indicator diatom species to enrichment pressure – eutrophication.

Reference to Method

The method is based on a revision of the Trophic Diatom Index (Kelly et al. 2001) with further details of the metric calculation and species sensitivity scores at . Phase 1 intercalibration at a European Level has been completed and the relevant EQR values for High and Good status are included in the formal decision and Irish Regulations SI 272 of 2009 (see Table 8, Schedule 5). Further harmonisation of member status boundary values is ongoing and will be completed by the end of 2011. Diatoms are collected primarily at the surveillance monitoring sites.

 

Results

Results for rivers surveyed to date are included in the Rivers Results Table.

 

 

Combination Rules for Aquatic Flora

Combination of diatoms and the other aquatic plant quality elements is currently on a one-out-all-out basis but intercalibration is still under way to complete the macrophyte and possibly filamentous algal status and averaging or other weighting may be used.

 

 

 

 

                    

 


 

         

Rivers

 

Quality Element:

Fish

(Composition, abundance and age structure of fish fauna)

 

Method 1

Fish versus EPA Quality Rating System and Expert opinion

 

Pressure

Mainly enrichment but habitat degradation is also considered.

 

Description

Sites are assigned status based on the composition and abundance of indicator species metrics (total salmonids and salmonids 1+ and older) in various catchment size classes in relation to water quality.  Habitat and connectivity were included in the assessment.  The ratio of salmonids versus tolerant fish species was also assessed to achieve a final status classification.

 

 

Reference to Method

Kelly, F.L., Champ, T., McDonnell, N., Kelly-Quinn, M., Harrison, S., Arbuthnott, A., Giller, P., Joy, M., McCarthy, K., Cullen, P., Harrod, C., Jordan, P., Griffiths, D. and Rosell, R. (2007) Investigation of the Relationship between Fish stocks, Ecological Quality Ratings (Q-values), Environmental Factors and Degree of Eutrophication.  (2000-MS-4-M1) Final Report.  Prepared for the Environmental Protection Agency. Summary Report: ERTDI Report 73.

 

Results

Results are shown in Fish Results Table  giving location of monitoring sites and overall water body status for the 2008-2009 WFD fish monitoring programme.

 

 

 

 

Method 2

 

Fisheries Classification Scheme 2 (Ireland)

 

Pressure

Enrichment, general habitat degradation and connectivity

 

Description

FCS2 Ireland is a geostatistical model based on Bayesian probabilities – predicts fish at sites based on site typology, presence of downstream barriers, water quality, etc.

For a single species within a site, the calculated EQR is based upon the probabilistic comparison of observed fish counts with expected (predicted) fish counts made under reference conditions (un-impacted).  The EQR for multiple species and sites are then combined to give a single EQR with which to classify a water body.

The output is an Ecological Quality Ratio (EQR) between 1 and 0, with five class boundaries defined along this range, corresponding with the five ecological status classes of High, Good, Moderate, Poor and Bad.

 

Reference to Method

SNIFFER, 2011 River Fish Classification Tool: Science Work. Phase 3 Report. The method is in the process of intercalibration at EU level and should be included in the next formal EU intercalibration decision.

 

Results

This method has not yet been used to assign formal status.

 

 

Combination Rules for Fish

Fish results are combined with other biological quality elements on a one-out all-out basis.

 

Further Details:

Contact: Dr Fiona Kelly, Inland Fisheries Ireland. Fiona.Kelly@fisheriesireland.ie

 

 


 

2.2 Rivers - Chemical and Physico-Chemical Elements Supporting the Biological Elements

 

Rivers

Quality Element:

General Conditions - Oxygenation and Nutrient Conditions

Method

Oxygenation and Nutrient Conditions (‘Organic Enrichment’) Ortho-phosphate, Nitrate, Total Ammonia, BOD, Dissolved Oxygen

Description

Classify into Good or Moderate-or-poorer – based on being 99% confident that relevant EQS in SI 272 of 2009 are exceeded (Table 9, Schedule 5). ‘Passes’ are not classified as High.

Reference to Method

A ‘benefit of the doubt’ approach to compliance with standards is taken in assessing compliance with the environmental quality standards (EQS) for phosphate, biochemical oxygen demand, and total ammonia set out in SI 272 of 2009.  The method is described in more detail: Compliance Rules for River Chemistry Determinands.

 

Results

National results are shown in Appendix 3.3 of Water Quality in Ireland 2007-2009. Average concentrations for PO4, BOD, NH3 and NO3 within hydrometric areas are mapped in Fig 3.8 of WQII 2007-2009 (page 55) with thresholds that match those used by the European Environment Agency WISE river maps. The overall pass/fail results for the good/moderate boundary are also mapped in Fig_3.7 of Water Quality in Ireland 2007-2009. In general sites that are classified as moderate or less using the above procedure will also have moderate, poor or bad ecological status based on the biological quality elements.

 

 

Combination Rules for Oxygenation and Nutrient Conditions

Half or more of the parameters measured (PO4, NO3, NH3, BOD) must fail before a site is failed under supporting general physico-chemical conditions. For these determinands both mean and 95%ile must fail. Oxygen is combined with these on a one-out all-out basis.

 

 

Quality Element

General Conditions - Acidification Status

Method

pH

Description

Comparison of pH with EQS value ranges

Reference to Method

Face-value assessment against pH with the following ranges for soft water 4.5< pH < 9.0 and hard water 6.0< pH < 9.0 where hard water is > 100mg/l CaCO3 and soft water is ≤100 mg/1 CaCO3. See Table 9 of Schedule 5 of SI 272 of 2009 (European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Waters) Regulations 2009).

Results

National results are shown in Appendix 3.3 of Water Quality in Ireland 2007-2009.

 

 

Quality Element:

General Conditions - Thermal conditions

Method

Temperature

Description

In situ temperature measurement – against standard in SI 272 of 2009 (Table 9 of Schedule 5) – ‘Not greater than a 1.5°C rise in ambient temperature outside the mixing zone’

Reference to Method

Face value comparison with standard.

Results

National results are shown in Appendix 3.3 of Water Quality in Ireland 2007-2009. No fails were recorded at WFD monitoring sites for thermal conditions.

 

 

Quality Element:

General Conditions - Salinity

Method

Conductivity Measurement or Chloride

Description

High conductivity may indicate transitional water conditions. High chloride may also indicate point source discharges such as municipal wastewater treatment plants.

Reference to Method

Standard method using meter or laboratory methods

Results

National results are shown in Appendix 3.3 of Water Quality in Ireland 2007-2009.

 

 

Overall Combination Rule for General Conditions.

The individual supporting physico-chemical quality elements are judged as described above and the lowest status result then determines the final status for the site or waterbody on a one-out all-out basis.

 


 

2.3 Rivers – Specific Pollutants


Rivers

Quality Element:

Specific Pollutants

Method

All priority substances plus other pollutant substances discharged in significant quantities

Description

Comparison of specific pollutants with EQS as set out in Table 10 of SI 272 of 2009 using annual averages or maximum allowable concentrations. MACS are assessed on a 95%ile basis – i.e. 95% of measurements must be below the MAC. Annual average EQS values are assessed on a face value basis.

Reference to Method

Table 10 of Schedule 5 of SI 272 of 2009.

Results

A small number of exceedances were noted in the surveillance and operational monitoring for 2007-2009. These are shown in the Rivers Results Table under the quality element: ‘SpecificPollutants’. Note that not all of the specific pollutants are measured at all monitoring sites.

 


 

2.4 Rivers – Hydromorphological elements supporting the biological elements

Rivers

Quality Element:

Hydromorphology

Method

Rapid Hydromorphology Assessment Technique (RHAT)

Description

This method assesses a range of hydromorphological features and combines these into a score indicating departure from reference conditions. In general, it is used to decide if sites that would be of high status based on other quality elements should be downgraded to good status or not. It is not used to provide assessments of status lower than this. If hydromorphological pressures are significant they will have an impact on one or more of the biological quality elements and the status of the affected quality elements will reflect this – e.g. dredging, dams affecting fish migration, etc.

Reference to Method

RHAT Training Manual 2009.

Results

Results are shown under quality element ‘Hydromorphology’ in the rivers results table for ecological status.


 

Section 3. Lakes

Biological Quality Elements: Deirdre Tierney[2], Bryan Kennedy, Ruth Little, Wayne Trodd, Gary Free, Caroline Plant, Caroline Wynne, Fiona Kelly (IFI).

Chemical Quality Elements: Colman Concannon, Darragh Cunningham, Ray Smith, Caroline Bowden, Regina McGinn, Carol O’Sullivan.

3.1 Lakes – Biological quality elements

Lakes

Quality Element:

Macrophytes and Phytobenthos -  (Composition and abundance of other aquatic flora)

Method

Free Macrophyte Index

Pressure

Enrichment

Description

Multimetric Index responding to enrichment.  The metrics comprising the index cover the parameters; taxonomic composition and abundance as outlined for macrophytes in the WFD.  The metric scores are averaged and expressed as an index score which has a corresponding EQR.  The EQR ranges from 0 to 1 representing bad to high status.

Reference to Method

Free, G., Little, R., Tierney, D., Donnelly, K. and Caroni, R., 2007. A reference based typology and ecological assessment system for Irish lakes. Preliminary investigations. EPA, Wexford. The method has also been published as a UK TAG methodology (see UKTAG Lakes Assessment Methods Macrophytes and Phytobenthos Macrophytes (Free Index) - published by Water Framework Directive - United Kingdom Technical Advisory Group (WFD-UKTAG).

Results

The individual lake results are given in the Lakes Status results table.

 

 

Method

Lake Trophic Diatom Index – LTDI

Pressure

Enrichment

Description

Responds to enrichment pressure – eutrophication.

Reference to Method

Lakes phytobenthos method: Lake Trophic Diatom Index (LTDI).

Results

None reported until harmonisation of status class boundaries post intercalibration.

Combination Rules for Aquatic Flora

To be finalised – diatoms are used as a proxy of the entire phytobenthos for the aquatic plant quality element listed in Annex V of the Water Framework Directive. The combined quality element ‘Macrophytes and phytobenthos’ will be reported for the surveillance monitoring network using a combination rule (e.g. minimum of the reported metrics) while incorporating information from the confidence estimates from the individual sub-metric scores when assigning status for a particular lake.

 


 

         

Lakes

Quality Element:

Phytoplankton -  (Composition, abundance and biomass of phytoplankton)

Method 1

Chlorophyll a

Pressure

Enrichment

Description

Average of chlorophyll a.  Measure of phytoplankton biomass as  concentration of chlorophyll in μg/l  averaged over the 3 year period.  Chlorophyll a increases with increasing enrichment.

Reference to Method

Standards are set out in Table 8 of Schedule 5 of SI 272 of 2009. Comparisons are done on a face value basis taking into account seasonal and other factors indicated in Table 8 as referenced above.

Results

See Lakes Status results table.

 

 

Method 2

Irish Phytoplankton Index (IPI)

Pressure

Enrichment

Description

The Irish Phytoplankton Index (IPI) is based on the abundances of planktonic algae in response to enrichment.  Nine algal indicator taxa were chosen due to their significant positive increase in abundance with elevated total phosphorous concentration. The nine taxon scores are averaged with a score for sample chlorophyll a to give the overall IPI assessment.

Reference to Method

Free, G., Little, R., Tierney, D., Donnelly, K. and Caroni, R., 2007. A reference based typology and ecological assessment system for Irish lakes. Preliminary investigations. EPA, Wexford.

Results

Only chlorophyll a has been intercalibrated at the time of publication of this report (June 2011). No phytoplankton-based results are yet available – this awaits final intercalibration.

Combination Rules for Phytoplankton

A method for joining the two phytoplankton metrics has been developed and is currently in the intercalibration process.

 


 

 

Lakes

Quality Element:

Invertebrates - (Composition and abundance of benthic invertebrate fauna)

Method 1

Chironomid Pupal Exuvial Technique (CPET)

Pressure

General pressures – including enrichment

Description

Monitoring has been undertaken for chironomid exuviae (CPET).and data collected but a method has not yet been formally adopted. Monitoring has included shoreline sampling of macroinvertebrates, profundal samples and collection of chironomid exuviae (CPET).

Reference to Method

UK TAG DOCUMENT

Results

Not available

 

 

Method 2

Stony Shore Invertebrates,

Pressure

General pressures – including enrichment

Description

Monitoring has been undertaken and data collected but a method has not yet been formally adopted.

Reference to Method

Not available

Results

Not available

 

 

Method

Profundal Invertebrates

Pressure

General pressures – including enrichment

Description

Monitoring has been undertaken and data collected but a method has not yet been formally adopted.

Reference to Method

Not available

Results

Not available

 

 

Quality Element:

Invertebrates (Zebra Mussels)

Method

The presence of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) is used in the overall assessment of ecological status.

Description

If Dreissena is found to be present – typically they become very abundant very quickly once they enter a lake – then a lake cannot be regarded as being of high status and is downgraded to good status even if other quality elements are indicative of high status.

Reference to Method

This document

Results

Lakes downgraded due to presence of invasive species such as zebra mussels are indicated in the lakes results if applicable.  See Lakes Status results table.

Combination Rules for Macroinvertebrates

To be decided when methods are completed.


 

Lakes

Quality Element:

Fish - (Composition, abundance and age structure of fish fauna)

Method 1

FIL (Fish in Lakes classification tool)

Pressure

Mainly Enrichment

Description

A preliminary ecological classification tool for fish in lakes was developed during the NSSHARE project.  This tool (FIL) was used to objectively assign lakes to ecological status classes based on fish species composition, abundance and age structure relationships with total phosphorus (Kelly et al., 2008).  Expert opinion was also used on some occasions where known pressures such as non-native species introductions, serve to downgrade the status of a lake.  For example, a high status lake cannot contain any non-native fish species.

Reference to Method

Kelly, F.L., Harrison, A., Connor, L., Allen, M., Rosell, R. and Champ, T. (2008) North South Shared Aquatic Resource (NS SHARE) Lakes Project: Fish in Lakes, Task 6.9: Classification Tool for Fish in Lakes.  Final Report. Additional datasets are included as appendices to the above report including bathymetric maps. See also www.wfdfish.ie the dedicated website for fish monitoring under the WFD.

Results

Fish classification for lakes results – See Lakes Status results table.

 

 

Method 2

Fish in Lakes Classification Tool 2 (FIL2)

Description

Lakes are classified into four lake types based on alkalinity and maximum depth for use in the FIL classification tool.  Each lake is assigned an ecological status based on an anthropogenic pressure gradient using total phosphorus and chlorophyll as stressors.  The FIL2 classification tool then uses discriminant analysis to develop classification rules for each of the four lake types based on 13 fish metrics, including Total BPUE (total biomass per unit effort) of all fish species, BPUE of native fish species and the percentage biomass of perch.  A separate model (using the same metrics) is then used to generate Ecological Quality Ratios (EQRS) for each lake.

Model outputs include quantitative EQR values with associated 95% confidence intervals and qualitative impact class category according to the EQR value.

 

Reference to Method

Allen, M. and Rosell, R. (2011) Classification tool for Fish in Lakes.  Final Report Commissioned by Inland Fisheries Ireland.

Kelly, F.L., Allen, M., Harrison, A., Connor, L. and Rosell, R. (in prep) A Classification Tool for Fish in Lakes in Ireland.

Precision and Confidence of method

Model outputs include quantitative EQR values with associated 95% confidence intervals 

Results

The method has been intercalibrated and will be used to assess fish in lakes on future surveys.

 

 

Combination Rules for Fish

Fish are combined with the other biological quality elements on a one-out all-out basis meaning that the lowest status found defines the overall status for the waterbody.

 

 

Further Details:

Contact: Fiona Kelly, Inland Fisheries Ireland. Fiona.Kelly@fisheriesireland.ie


 

3.2 LAKES – Chemical and physico-chemical elements supporting the biological elements

 

Lakes

Quality Element:

General Conditions - Oxygenation Conditions  

Method

95%ile of Dissolved Oxygen Percent Saturation

Description

Assignment of moderate status for dissolved oxygen was based on the 95%ile as described in SI 272 of 2009 (Table 9, Schedule 5) but the waterbody must fail on at least 5 sampling occasions over the 3 year period.

Reference to Method

The upper and lower thresholds are laid out in Table 9, Schedule 5 of SI 272 of 2009.

Results

See table of ecological status results for lakes.

 

 

Quality Element:

General Conditions - Nutrient Conditions

Method 1

Average Total Phosphorus

Description

Provisional EQS of 10 and 25 µg/l for the high/good and good/moderate boundaries were applied to the average total phosphorus over the 3 year period.

Reference to Method

Provisional

Results

See Lakes Status results table.

 

 

 

 

Method 2

Total Ammonia

Description

For a lake to be assigned high status, both the mean and 95%ile values must be in agreement. If the mean and the 95%ile did not agree then the status was based on the lower of the 2 statistics for example, the mean value placed a lake in good status but the 95%ile placed it in moderate status, therefore for ammonium the lake was considered to be in moderate status.

Reference to Method

See Table 9, Schedule 5 of SI 272 of 2009.

Results

See Lakes Status results table.

Combination Rules for Oxygenation Conditions

One out all out

 

 

Lakes

 

Quality Element:

General Conditions - Acidification Status (pH)

Method

pH

Description

Comparison of maximum and minimum pH with EQS as set out in SI 272

Reference to Method

See Table 9, Schedule 5 of SI 272 of 2009.

Results

See Lakes Status results table.

 

 

Quality Element:

General Conditions - Thermal Conditions

Method

Temperature °C

Description

Comparison of  average temperature with EQS as set out in SI 272

Reference to Method

See Table 9, Schedule 5 of SI 272 of 2009.

Results

See Lakes Status results table.

 

 

Quality Element:

Transparency

Method

Secchi Disk

Description

Measurement of light absorption/reflectance within lake surface water as an indication of phytoplankton, humic content or suspended inorganic particulate matter affecting light penetration to benthic macrophytes and water column primary producers.

Reference to Method

Standard method. This quality element does not yet have an EQS established.

Results

Results have not been published.

Lakes

 

Quality Element:

General Conditions - Salinity

Method

Conductivity Measurement or Chloride

Description

High conductivity may indicate transitional water conditions. There are no known direct discharges to Irish lakes that would impact salinity. Brackish lagoons and coastal lakes are treated under transitional waters.

Reference to Method

Standard method using meter or laboratory methods

Results

Results have not been published.

Overall Combination Rule for General Conditions.

The individual supporting physico-chemical quality elements are judged as described above and the lowest status result then determines the final status for the site or waterbody on a one-out all-out basis.


3.3 Lakes – Specific Pollutants


Lakes

Quality Element:

Specific Pollutants

Method

All priority substances plus other pollutant substances discharged in significant quantities

Description

Comparison of specific pollutants with EQS as set out in Table 10 of SI 272 of 2009 using annual averages or maximum allowable concentrations. MACS are assessed on a 95%ile basis – i.e. 95% of measurements must be below the MAC. Annual average EQS values are assessed on a face value basis.

Reference to Method

See Table 10, Schedule 5 of SI 272 of 2009.

Results

See Lakes Status results table. One lake failed on chemical status – an tSeisigh which exceeded the benzo[α]-pyrene MAC-EQS.

Overall Combination Rule for Specific Pollutants.

Exceedances for specific pollutants are combined with other quality elements determining ecological status on a one-out all-out basis. Exceedances result in an ecological status of ‘moderate or less’. Biological quality elements may then rate such a waterbody to moderate, poor or bad if data are available.


 

3.4 Lakes – Hydromorphological elements supporting the biological elements

Lakes

Quality Element:

Hydromorphological elements

Method

LHS (Lake Habitat Survey)/MImAS

Structure of lake shore, quantity and dynamics of water flow (partial)

Description

10 habitat plots located evenly along the perimeter of the lake are surveyed for various characteristics such as vegetation type, physical modifications and naturalness. The outlet is assessed and whether or not there is an abstraction is noted. The information collated is used to calculate the MImAS score which determines the status class.

Reference to Method

J.S. Rowan 2008 Development of Lake-MImAS as a Decision-Support Tool for Managing Hydromorphological Alterations to Lakes. SNIFFER. 65pp.

Results

Hydromorphological results are shown in the Lakes Status results table.

 

 

Method

Lake Residence Time and Lake Depth Variation

Description

Residence time and depth are calculated from detailed bathymetric maps of individual lakes which provides accurate lake volume. The volume of inflowing water is calculated using data from the EPA hydrometric network.

Reference to Method

A number of reports on the results of bathymetric surveys have been produced.

 

Results

Detailed results of residence time are not yet available. Turnover times will be used in Vollenweider-type modelling to calculate individual lake total phosphorus loadings in order to compare actual with reference conditions loading. More detailed depth measurements will also assist in updating lake typology and assigning types to lakes that have not yet been typed.

 

 

Method

Quantity and dynamics of water flow

Description

The volume of inflowing water is calculated using data from the EPA hydrometric network. A number of key lakes have lake level gauges providing continuous measurement of lake levels.

Reference to Method

The EPA hydrometric programme uses a range of standard methods. More details on the EPA Hydrometric Programme is available on the EPA Website.

 

Results

Detailed results of lake levels and water flow through lakes are not yet collated specifically for lakes. The EPA publishes Surface Water Levels and Flows  from which results for individual lakes can be determined.

 

Combination Rules for this QE

Hydromorphological elements are used to downgrade sites that may be regarded as high status by the combined assessments of the other quality elements sites to good status. More complex relationships also exist between hydrometric aspects and other quality elements such as nutrient loading to lakes.

 


 

Section 4. Transitional Waters

Biological Quality Elements: Shane O’Boyle[3], Robert Wilkes, Georgina McDermott, Tone Noklegaard, Fiona Kelly

Chemical Quality Elements: Colman Concannon, Darragh Cunningham, Ray Smith, Caroline Bowden, Regina McGinn, Carol O’Sullivan.

 

 

 

 


 

4.1 Transitional Waters – Biological quality elements

 

Transitional Waters

Quality Element:

Composition and abundance of Macroalgae and Angiosperms

Method 1:

Opportunistic Macroalgal Growth (OGA)

Pressure

Responds to increase in nutrient pressures

Description

Assessment of ABUNDANCE of opportunistic Macroalgae. 

Multi-metric tool that measures the spatial extent, coverage and biomass of opportunistic macroalgal accumulations. Degradation in ecological status measured by increase in biomass and cover of opportunist species.

Reference to Method

C.M. Scanlan, J. Foden, E. Wells, M.A. Best 2007.  The monitoring of opportunistic macroalgal blooms for the Water Framework Directive. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 55, 136 – 150.

Results

See TraC results table.

 

 

Method 2:

Intertidal Seagrass (SG)

Pressure

Tool responds to hydro-morphological or nutrient pressures.

Description

Assessment of composition and abundance of intertidal seagrasses.  Degradation in ecological status measured by reduction in spatial extent and density of seagrass beds or through loss of diversity.

Reference to Method

Re J. Foden and D.J. de Jong (2007). Assessment metrics for littoral seagrass under the European Water Framework Directive; outcomes of UK intercalibration with the Netherlands. Hydrobiologia, 583(1): 383-383.

Results

See TraC results table.

 

 

Combination Rules for this QE

Classification based on ‘one out, all out’ method or lowest classification for each of the above methods.

 

 

Transitional Waters

Quality Element:

Composition, abundance and biomass of phytoplankton

Method 1:

Chlorophyll

Pressure

Responds to eutrophication pressure.

Description

Assessment of Phytoplankton abundance and biomass using 90th percentile and median chlorophyll concentrations.

Degradation in ecological status measured by increase in chlorophyll concentrations assessed against a salinity related threshold.

 

Reference to Method

EPA Water Quality in Ireland 2007-2009

Results

See TraC results table.

 

 

Method 2:

Elevated Phytoplankton taxa cell counts

Pressure

Tool responds to eutrophication pressure.

Description

Assessment of Composition and abundance of phytoplankton.  Cell counts of single phytoplankton taxa above a certain salinity corrected threshold.  Degradation in ecological status measured by number of cells counts above a salinity corrected threshold.

Reference to Method

Still under development in Transitional Waters.

Results

See TraC results table.

 

 

Combination Rules for this QE

Classification for phytoplankton is based on the average of the two methods above.

 


 

 

Transitional Waters

Quality Element:

Composition and abundance of benthic invertebrate fauna

Method:

Infaunal Quality Index (IQI)

Pressure

The tool responds to organic enrichment

Description

This multimetric has been developed by the UK-Ireland Benthic Invertebrate subgroup of the UK-Ireland Marine Task Team.

The IQI describes ecological status based on the composition and abundance of soft sediment infaunal communities.

Reference to Method

See Page 119 of Water Framework Directive Monitoring Programme.

Results

See TraC results table.

 

 

 


 

 

Transitional Waters

Quality Element:

Composition and abundance of fish fauna

Method:

Transitional Fish Classification Index (TFCI)

Pressure

General degradation

Description

This multimetric has been developed by the UK-Ireland Fish subgroup of the UK-Ireland Marine Task Team.

This multimetric ecological classification tool has been developed by the UK-Ireland Fish subgroup of the UK-Ireland Marine Task Team.

The TFCI assigns ecological status based on the composition and abundance of the fish community in a transitional water body, compared with the fish community expected under reference or undisturbed conditions.

The number of ‘indicator species’ such as salmon, trout and shad is also used as a metric in the classification tool.

 

Reference to Method

http://www.wfdfish.ie/.

Results

See TraC results table.

More detailed fish results for transitional waters are available on www.wfdfish.ie for 2008, 2009 and 2010.

 

 

Further Details:

Contact Dr Fiona Kelly, Inland Fisheries Ireland. Fiona.Kelly@fisheriesireland.ie

 

 


 

 

4.2 Transitional waters - Chemical and physico-chemical elements supporting the biological elements

Transitional Waters

Quality Element:

Chemical and physico-chemical elements supporting the biological elements

General Conditions – Nutrient Conditions

Method 1:

Molybdate Reactive Phosphorus (MRP)

Description

MRP concentration assessed against a salinity corrected threshold.

Reference to Method

Face value comparison with standards set out in Schedule 5, Table 9 of SI 272 of 2009.

Results

See TraC results table.

 

 

Quality Element

General Conditions – Oxygenation Conditions

Method 1.

Dissolved Oxygen (DO)

Description

DO concentration assessed against salinity corrected thresholds for undersaturation and supersaturation.

Reference to Method

Face value comparison with standards set out in Schedule 5, Table 9 of SI 272 of 2009.

Results

See TraC results table.

 

 

Method 2

Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD)

Description

95th Percentile of BOD concentration must be below 4mg/l.

Reference to Method

Face value comparison with standards set out in Schedule 5, Table 9 of SI 272 of 2009.

Results

See TraC results table.

 

 

 

Quality Element:

General Conditions - Thermal Conditions, Transparency, Salinity

Method

Temperature °C, Secchi Disk, Conductivity/Salinity meter

Description

There are no EQS set directly for these particular supporting QEs in transitional waters as of yet. Salinity, however, is crucial in underpinning the nutrient standards, for example.

Reference to Method

General standard methods. No EQS set but salinity used in e.g. assessing status based on nitrogen standards.

Results

Results have not been formally published but datasets are available. Additional transitional waters datasets are available from http://www.marinedataonline.ie.

 

 

 


 

4.3 Transitional Waters – Hydromorphological Elements Supporting the Biological Elements

 

Transitional Waters

Quality Element:

Hydromorphological elements supporting the biological elements

Method 1:

Transitional and Coastal Waters Morphology Impact Assessment System (MimAS)

Description

In the absence of environmental standards for morphology, Morphological Condition Limits (MCLs) were developed to help quantify the risk that a new morphological alteration could impair achievement of the ecological objectives of the WFD:

  • MCLs are expressed in terms of % capacity used within a water body,
  • Defined for 3 TraC zones: hydrodynamic; intertidal; subtidal,
  • High = 5%; Good = 15%,
  • MImAS can provide risk-based information to inform decisions,
  • Predict where a deterioration in status is likely, identifying where regulatory exemption tests are required to determine if work should proceed on the basis of over-riding public interest / social / economic factors.

Reference to Method

The MImAS method is used.

Results

 

See TraC results table.

 

Transitional Waters

Quality Element:

Hydromorphological elements supporting the biological elements -

Method 2:

Morphological Conditions and Tidal Regime

Description

A range of hydromorphological quality elements are listed in Annex V of the WFD:

Morphological conditions:

depth variation,

quantity, structure and substrate of the bed,

structure of the intertidal zone;

Tidal regime:

freshwater flow,

wave exposure.

Some of these quality elements are included under the MImAS method above. Others are covered by a range of surveys undertaken primarily by the Marine Institute. A series of tide gauges and wave buoys are in place around the coast. The bathymetric mapping of the shallow <50m seabed is currently under way. Hydrometric flow data provide information on freshwater inputs to transitional waters.

Reference to Method

In development.

Results

Various relevant datasets are available via http://www.marinedataonline.ie.

 


 

4.4 Transitional waters – Specific Pollutants

 

Transitional Waters

Quality Element:

Specific Pollutants

Method:

All priority substances plus other pollutant substances discharged in significant quantities

Description

An assessment of dangerous substances in Water Framework Directive Transitional and Coastal Waters: 2007 – 2009

a. Review, selection and collation of MI datasets and external data

b. Review and collation of appropriate tools and in particular assessment criteria for classification at good-moderate boundary

c. Assessment process

i. Data extraction, binning according to water body, and normalization where appropriate

ii. Classification according to good status and less than good status for parameter matrix combinations according to WFD water bodies

iii. An assessment of the confidence of this assessment

iv. An assessment of temporal trends for various parameters

v. An expert commentary on the above and considering inter alia data available for substances where assessment criteria could not be identified and other information (such as biological).

Reference to Method

Results

 

See TraC results table.

 

 


 

Section 5. Coastal Waters

Biological Quality Elements: Shane O’Boyle[4], Robert Wilkes, Georgina McDermott, Tone Noklegaard, Fiona Kelly

Chemical Quality Elements: Colman Concannon, Darragh Cunningham, Ray Smith, Caroline Bowden, Regina McGinn, Carol O’Sullivan.

 

 

 

 


 

5.1 Coastal Waters – Biological Quality Elements

 

Coastal Waters

Quality Element:

Composition and abundance of Macroalgae and Angiosperms

Method 1:

Reduced Species List (RSL)

Pressure

Tool responds to morphological impacts, hazardous substance and increased nutrient pressures.

Description

Assessment of COMPOSITION of rocky shore macroalgae. 

Multi-metric tool to assess species richness and community structure of attached rocky shore macroalgae. Degradation in ecological status measured by changes in species numbers and composition.

 

Reference to Method

M. Wilkinson, P. Wood, E. Wells and C. Scanlan, 2007. Using attached macroalgae to assess ecological status of British estuaries for the European Water Framework Directive. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 55, 136 – 150

Results

See TraC results table.

 

 

Method 2:

Opportunistic Macroalgal Growth (OGA)

Pressure

Tool responds to increase in nutrient pressures.

Description

Assessment of ABUNDANCE of opportunistic Macroalgae. 

Multi-metric tool that measures the spatial extent, coverage and biomass of opportunistic macroalgal accumulations . Degradation in ecological status measured by increase in biomass and cover of opportunist species.

 

Reference to Method

C.M. Scanlan, J. Foden, E. Wells and M.A. Best , 2007.  The monitoring of opportunistic macroalgal blooms for the water framework directive . Marine Pollution Bulletin. 55, 162 – 171.

Results

See TraC results table.

 

 

Method 3:

Intertidal Seagrass (SG)

Pressure

Tool responds to hydro-morphological or nutrient pressures.

Description

Assessment of composition and abundance of intertidal seagrasses.  Degradation in ecological status measured by reduction in spatial extent and density of seagrass beds or through loss of diversity.

 

Reference to Method

Re J. Foden and D.J. de Jong (2007). Assessment metrics for littoral seagrass under the European Water Framework Directive; outcomes of UK intercalibration with the Netherlands. Hydrobiologia, 583(1): 383-383

Results

See TraC results table.

 

 

Combination Rules for this QE

Classification based on ‘one out, all out’ method or lowest classification for each tool.

 


 

 

Coastal Waters

Quality Element:

Composition, abundance and biomass of phytoplankton

Method 1:

Chlorophyll

Pressure

Tool responds to eutrophication pressure.

Description

Assessment of Phytoplankton abundance and biomass using 90th percentile and median chlorophyll concentrations.

Degradation in ecological status measured by increase in chlorophyll concentrations assessed against a salinity related threshold.

 

Reference to Method

See Chapter 5 of Water Quality in Ireland 2007-2009.

Results

See TraC results table.

 

 

Method 2:

Elevated Phytoplankton taxa cell counts

Pressure

Tool responds to eutrophication pressure.

Description

Assessment of Composition and abundance of phytoplankton.  Cell counts of single phytoplankton taxa above a certain salinity corrected threshold.  Degradation in ecological status measured by number of cells counts above a salinity corrected threshold.

 

Reference to Method

METRIC report:  http://coe.epa.ie/safer/iso19115/display?isoID=40

Results

See TraC results table.

 

 

Combination Rules for this QE

Classification based on the average of the two methods.

 


 

 

Coastal Waters

Quality Element:

Composition and abundance of benthic invertebrate fauna

Method:

Infaunal Quality Index (IQI)

Pressure

The tool responds to organic enrichment.

 

Description

This multimetric has been developed by the UK-Ireland Benthic Invertebrate subgroup of the UK-Ireland Marine Task Team.

The IQI describes ecological status based on the composition and abundance of soft sediment infaunal communities.

 

Reference to Method

Water Framework Directive Monitoring Programme.

Results

See TraC results table.

 

 

 


 

5.2 Coastal Waters - Chemical and physico-chemical elements supporting the biological elements

 

Coastal Waters

Quality Element:

General Conditions - Nutrient Conditions

Method:

Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen (DIN)

Description

DIN concentration assessed against a salinity corrected threshold.

Reference to Method

Face value comparison with standards set out in Schedule 5, Table 9 of SI 272 of 2009.

Results

See TraC results table.

 

 

 

 

Coastal Waters

Quality Element

General Conditions - Oxygen Conditions

Method:

Dissolved Oxygen (DO)

Description

DO concentration assessed against salinity corrected thresholds for undersaturation and supersaturation.

Reference to Method

Face value comparison with standards set out in Schedule 5, Table 9 of SI 272 of 2009.

Results

See TraC results table.

 


 

5.3 Coastal Waters - Hydromorphological elements supporting the biological elements

 

Coastal Waters

Quality Element:

Morphological Conditions and Tidal Regime

Method 1:

Transitional and Coastal  Morphology Impact Assessment System (MImAS)

Description

In the absence of Environmental Standards for morphology, Morphological Condition Limits (MCLs) were developed to help quantify the risk that a new morphological alteration could impair achievement of the ecological objectives of the WFD

  • MCLs are expressed in terms of % capacity used within a water body
  • Defined for 3 TraC zones: hydrodynamic; intertidal; subtidal
  • High = 5%; Good = 15%
  • MImAS can provide risk-based information to inform decisions
  • Predict where a deterioration in status is likely, identifying where regulatory exemption tests are required to determine if work should proceed on the basis of over-riding public interest / social / economic factors

 

Reference to Method

MImAS.

Results

See TraC results table.

Coastal Waters

Quality Element:

Hydromorphological elements supporting the biological elements -

Method 2:

Morphological Conditions and Tidal Regime

Description

A range of hydromorphological quality elements are listed in Annex V of the WFD:

Morphological conditions:

depth variation,

structure and substrate of coastal the bed,

structure of the intertidal zone;

Tidal regime:

direction of dominant currents

wave exposure.

Some of these quality elements are included under the MImAS method above. Others are covered by a range of surveys undertaken primarily by the Marine Institute. A series of tide gauges and wave buoys are in place around the coast. The bathymetric mapping of the shallow <50m seabed is currently under way. Hydrometric flow data provide information on freshwater inputs to transitional waters.

Reference to Method

In development.

Results

Various relevant datasets are available via http://www.marinedataonline.ie.

 

 

 


 

5.4 Coastal waters – Specific Pollutants

 

Coastal Waters

Quality Element:

Specific Pollutants

Method:

All priority substances plus other pollutant substances discharged in significant quantities

Description

An assessment of dangerous substances in Water Framework Directive Transitional and Coastal Waters: 2007 – 2009.

a. Review, selection and collation of MI datasets and external data.

b. Review and collation of appropriate tools and in particular assessment criteria for classification at good-moderate boundary.

c. Assessment process:

i. Data extraction, binning according to water body, and normalization where appropriate

ii. Classification according to good status and less than good status for parameter matrix combinations according to WFD water bodies

iii. An assessment of the confidence of this assessment

iv. An assessment of temporal trends for various parameters

v. An expert commentary on the above and considering inter alia data available for substances where assessment criteria could not be identified and other information (such as biological).

 

Reference to Method

Results

See TraC results table.

Combination Rules for Specific Pollutants

Specific pollutants are combined on a one-out all-out basis with the other quality elements determining ecological status.

 

 


 

Section 6. Artificial and Heavily Modified Waterbodies

D. Tierney, S. O’Boyle, J. Caffrey.

 

 

 


 

6.1 Artificial Waterbodies - Canals

 

Canals

Quality Element:

Macroinvertebrates and Supporting Physico-chemical elements

Method:

Macroinvertebrates and a range of supporting physico-chemical quality elements were assessed in Irish Canals

Description

Water quality monitoring was carried out in on Canals during the 2007-2009 period with water samples collected at a total of 42 sites.

Reference to Method

Details of approach and surrogate standards used in classification are contained in Chapter 3 of Water Quality in Ireland 2007-2009, pages 66-69. Further work is required to finalise the assessment of ecological potential in Irish canals.

Results

Details of the results are contained in Chapter 3 of Water Quality in Ireland 2007-2009, pages 66-69.

 

 


 

6.2 Heavily Modified Waterbodies – Lakes and Reservoirs

HMWB

Quality Element:

Biological Quality elements and Supporting Physico-chemical elements

Method:

As outlined for lakes

Description

A number of lakes or reservoirs were classified as heavily modified waterbodies. They are listed in the lakes status table and their ecological potential is assessed with natural lakes.

Reference to Method

If the outcome of the biological quality elements and the physico-chemical quality elements was not considered to be comprised by the modifications to the waterbody then the lower of the two was considered to be ecological potential.

Results

Details of the results are contained in the Lakes Status table.

Combination Rules for HMWBs

The quality elements are combined in a similar fashion to that for the natural lake quality elements.

 


 

6.2 Heavily Modified Waterbodies – Transitional and Coastal Waters.

HMWB

Quality Element:

Biological Quality elements and Supporting Physico-chemical elements

Method:

As outlined for transitional and coastal waters

Description

A number of transitional and coastal waters were classified as heavily modified waterbodies. They are listed in the MImAS status results table and their ecological potential is assessed with natural waters.

Reference to Method

If the outcome of the biological quality elements and the physico-chemical quality elements was not considered to be comprised by the modifications to the waterbody then the lower of the two was considered to be ecological potential.

Results

Details of the results are contained in  Transitional and Coastal Water Status table.

Combination Rules for HMWBs

The quality elements are combined in a similar fashion to that for the quality elements used to assess natural TraC waters.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Section 7. Surface Water Chemical Status

Colman Concannon[5], Darragh Cunningham, Ray Smith, Caroline Bowden, Regina McGinn, Carol O’Sullivan.

 


 

7.1 Surface Water Chemical Status

Priority Substances (including priority hazardous substances) measured in surface waters.

 

Rivers, Lakes, Transitional, Coastal and Territorial Waters.

Quality Element:

Priority Substances

Method:

Priority Substances and Priority Hazardous Substances

Description

 

Good or Failing to achieve good as set out in Table 11 of SI 272

 

Reference to Method

Comparison of measured concentrations of priority substances in water with EQS as set out in Table 11 and Table 12 of SI 272 of 2009 using annual averages or maximum allowable concentrations as specified. MACS are assessed on a 95%ile basis – i.e. 95% of measurements must be below the MAC. Annual average EQS values are assessed on a face value basis.

 

Results

Results are set out in the Table of Priority Substances Exceedances for rivers.  A map showing the locations of the exceedances is shown for rivers nationally on a site by site basis indicating each RBD in which the exceedances occur. Chemical status at a waterbody level within the RBDs is also depicted. Waterbodies not shown were not monitored.

Exceedances are mapped for lakes nationally and individually for : EARBD, SERBD, SWRBD, WRBD, SHIRBD, NWIRBD, NBIRBD,

for transitional and coastal waters nationally and for each RBD separately: EARBD, SERBD, SWRBD, WRBD, SHIRBD, NWIRBD, NBIRBD.

 

 

Combination Rules for this QE

Chemical status is combined with Ecological Status to produce ‘Surface Water Status’ which is the poorer of the two. (WFD §2.17.)

 


 

8.1 Groundwater Status and Trend Assessments

Matthew Craig[6], Anthony Mannix and Donal Daly

 

 

An introduction and summary provide background to the groundwater status and trend assessments undertaken. A more detailed description of the methodology is also available.

 


 

8.2 Groundwater – Chemical Status Tests

Groundwater

Test:

Saline Intrusion

Description

Status, and the presence of an intrusion of poor quality water into the groundwater body, is determined through an assessment of trends in Electrical Conductivity or other indicator substances. The test is designed to detect the presence of an intrusion that is induced by the abstraction of groundwater.

 

Criteria

Threshold Values are exceeded and there is either a significant and sustained rising trend in one or more key determinands at relevant monitoring points or there is an existing significant impact on a point of abstraction as a consequence of an intrusion.

Note: This test mirrors the Quantitative saline intrusion test as it is dependent on chemical impact caused by groundwater abstraction.

 

Standards/Threshold Values

Threshold Values are set at the upper limit of the natural background range for key determinands. Threshold Values are only used in combination with trend assessment(s). Threshold Values have only been derived for pollutants that are indicative of saline (or other) intrusions.

  • Electrical Conductivity = 800 mS/cm
  • Chloride = 24 mg/l

 

Results

This element is one of five that are used to determine chemical status (see Map 1). Groundwater bodies are at Poor Status in relation to saline intrusion. See Groundwater Results Table.

 

 

Test:

Surface Water

Description

Status is determined through a combination of surface water classification results and an assessment of chemical inputs from groundwater bodies into surface water bodies. The surface water bodies can comprise rivers, standing waters and transitional waters. The test is designed to determine whether the contribution from groundwater quality to surface water quality, or any consequent impact on surface water ecology, is sufficient to threaten the WFD objectives for these associated water bodies.

 

Criteria

An associated surface water body does not meet its objectives because of diffuse pressures, Threshold Values are exceeded and groundwater contributes at least 50% of the load that would breach the relevant surface water standard.

 

Standards/Threshold Values

Threshold Values are surface water quality standards adjusted by dilution and, where appropriate, attenuation factors. The Threshold Values have been based on the EQS for the associated surface water receptor.

  • Molybdate Reactive Phosphorus (as P) = 35 mg/l (based on River EQS)
  • Ammonium (as N) = 65 mg/l (based on River EQS)

 

Results

This element is one of five that are used to determine chemical status (see Map 1). 95 groundwater bodies are at Poor Status in relation to the impact of groundwater quality on surface waters. See Groundwater Results Table.

 

 

Test:

Groundwater Dependent Terrestrial Ecosystems

Description

Status is determined through a combination of Groundwater Dependent Terrestrial Ecosystems (GWDTE) assessments to determine ecological damage and an assessment of chemical inputs from groundwater bodies into GWDTEs. The test is designed to determine whether the contribution from groundwater quality to GWDTEs and consequent impact on GWDTE ecology is sufficient to threaten the WFD objectives for these associated GWDTEs.

 

Criteria

The ecology of an associated GWDTE is damaged due to the chemical contribution from the groundwater body, Threshold Values are exceeded and groundwater loading is sufficient to cause a breach of the relevant GWDTE quality standard.

 

Standards/Threshold Values

Threshold Values are wetland quality standards or action values adjusted by dilution and, where appropriate, attenuation factors.

 

Results

Due to the lack of information on trigger action values for GWDTEs, the GWDTE ecological/chemical assessment could not be undertaken. This assessment will be undertaken in the 2nd River Basin planning cycle. Therefore no groundwater bodies are at Poor Status in relation to the impact of groundwater quality on GWDTE (see Map 1). See Groundwater Results Table.

 

 

Test:

Drinking Water

Description

Good chemical status requires an assessment, at the point of abstraction for water intended for human consumption, of whether there is deterioration in groundwater quality due to anthropogenic influences that could lead to an increase in purification treatment. Note: the stated aim of the Drinking Water Protected Area (DWPA) objective in the WFD is to provide the necessary protection to avoid deterioration in water quality in order to reduce the need for purification treatment. This has been interpreted as a minimum requirement to prevent deterioration in groundwater quality at the point of abstraction for drinking water supply.

 

Criteria

There is a significant and sustained rising trend in one or more key determinands at the point of abstraction and Threshold Values are exceeded.

 

Standards/Threshold Values

Threshold Values are an appropriate percentage of Drinking Water Standards or any other requirement to ensure that drinking water is free from contamination that could constitute a danger to human health (in accordance with the Drinking Water Directive). Threshold Values have been derived for the following pollutants:

  • Nitrate (as NO3) = 37.5 mg/l
  • Ammonium (as N) = 175 mg/l
  • Electrical Conductivity = 1,875 mS/cm
  • Nitrite (as NO2) = 375 mg/l
  • Chloride = 187.5 mg/l
  • Sulphate = 187.5 mg/l
  • Sodium = 150 mg/l
  • Boron = 750 mg/l
  • Individual Pesticides = 0.075 mg/l
  • Total Pesticides = 0.375 mg/l

 

Results

This element is one of five that are used to determine chemical status (see Map 1). No groundwater bodies are at Poor Status in relation to the impact of groundwater quality on Drinking Water . See Groundwater Results Table.

 

 

Test:

General Chemical

Description

Status is determined through an assessment of the areal extent of a groundwater body exceeding a Threshold Value for a pollutant. It is only conducted for determinands for which:

Ø  an EU prescribed standard is set; or

Ø  the risk characterisation process has indicated that pollutants may cause significant impairment of human uses of groundwater.

 

Criteria

Threshold Values are exceeded at individual monitoring points, and a representative aggregation of the monitoring data at the groundwater body scale indicates that there is a significant environmental risk or a significant impairment of human uses of the groundwater body.

 

Standards/Threshold Values

Threshold Values are an appropriate percentage of the EU prescribed standards for nitrates and pesticides or a use-related standard that is appropriate for existing or planned use of the groundwater body. Threshold Values have been derived for the following pollutants:

  • Nitrate (as NO3) = 37.5 mg/l
  • Ammonium (as N) = 175 mg/l
  • Electrical Conductivity = 1,875 mS/cm
  • Nitrite (as NO2) = 375 mg/l
  • Chloride = 187.5 mg/l
  • Sulphate = 187.5 mg/l
  • Sodium = 150 mg/l
  • Boron = 750 mg/l
  • Individual Pesticides = 0.075 mg/l
  • Total Pesticides = 0.375 mg/l
  • Chromium = 37.5 mg/l
  • Arsenic = 7.5 mg/l
  • Lead = 18.75 mg/l
  • Nickel = 15 mg/l
  • Mercury = 0.75 mg/l
  • Cadmium = 3.75 mg/l
  • Copper = 1500 mg/l
  • Aluminium = 150 mg/l
  • Cyanide = 37.5 mg/l
  • 1,2-Dichloroethane = 2.25 mg/l
  • Vinyl Chloride = 0.375 mg/l
  • Total Tetrachloroethene & Trichloroethene 7.5 mg/l
  • Benzene = 0.75 mg/l
  • Benzo(alpha)pyrene = 7.5 ng/l
  • Total Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons = 0.075 mg/l
  • Total Trihalomethanes = 75 mg/l

 

Results

This element is one of five that are used to determine chemical status (see Map 1). Eight groundwater bodies are at Poor Status in relation to the widespread impact of pollution on groundwater quality. See Groundwater Results Table.

 


 


8.3 Groundwater – Quantitative Status Tests


Groundwater

Test:

Saline Intrusion

Description