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By Hester R.E., Harrison R.M. (eds.)

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The objective was to provide a network of sites at the lower end of catchments, where water quality data could be collected and analysed in a nationally consistent manner, allowing the loads of materials carried through river catchments into estuaries to be estimated and long-term trends in river quality to be assessed. The complete list of substances to be monitored is diverse and specifies about 115 substances. The pesticides aldrin, dieldrin, -HCH, heptachlor, p,p-DDT and p,p-DDE are included.

Pollution. These duties are contained in the Water Resources Act (1991), which is the primary legislation for controlling and preventing water pollution. Under Section 85 of this Act it is an offence ‘to cause or knowingly permit any poisonous, noxious or polluting matter or any solid waste to enter any Controlled Waters’. Controlled Waters are waters subject to the Water Resources Act (1991) and include all rivers, lakes, groundwaters, estuaries, and coastal waters. Pesticides are potentially ‘poisonous, noxious or polluting’ substances, and therefore the NRA is responsible for controlling and preventing pesticide pollution of water.

Interestingly, much of the flux of phosphorus is held in iron(III) hydroxide matrices and its re-use depends upon reduction of the metal to the iron(II) form. The released phosphate is indeed biologically available to the organisms which make contact with it, so the significance attributed to solution events is understandable. It is not clear, however, just how well this phosphorus is used, for it generally remains isolated from the production sites in surface waters. Moreover, subsequent oxidation of the iron causes re-precipitation of the iron(III) hydroxide flocs, simultaneously scavenging much of the free phosphate.

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