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Surface Water and Groundwater
Status
Donal Daly
Hydrometric & Groundwater Section
Environmental Protection Agency

Acknowl...
Water Freamework Directive
Water Status
“A measure of the present”
Status is the key element determining
the measures to b...
Ecological Status for Surface Waters

Pass
WFD

Fail
WFD
Interim Status Assessment of
Rivers
River Qualit y – WFD I nt erim St at us
Ecological Class

Hi g h
Good
Moderat e
Poor
B...
Interim Status Assessment
of Lakes
Lak e Qualit y – WFD I nt erim St at us
Biological Class

Hi g h
Good
Moder at e

Poor
...
Main Causes of “less than good”
Status Surface Water Bodies

 Discharges from Wastewater Treatment
Plants (nutrients)
 D...
Groundwa
ter
boundary
Aquifer
boundary
GROUNDWATER
BODIES ARE
NORMALLY LARGE
(10s to 100s km2)
WILL HAVE
SEVERAL SW
BODIES...
Groundwater Status
 Groundwater Directive
The overall aim of the WFD is to achieve
“Good Status” for all GWBs by 2015
St...
GWB Results:

Quantitative Status
 4 GWBs at Poor Status
 2 due to
unsustainable longterm abstraction
 2 due to abstrac...
GWB Results:
Chemical Status

 111 GWBs at POOR STATUS
 Relates to 14% of RoIs area
 Main Drivers:
 MRP contributing t...
Issues Arising (Selected)
1) Nitrogen & trac waters and sea lettuce
2) Groundwater as an input and a pathway to
surface wa...
Who undertakes water
body classification?
 Environment Protection Agency
undertakes and is responsible for this
work

Sm...
Drifting Ulva blooms (Green tides) (‘sea lettuce’!!)
on the Brittany coast
N
s
Nitrogen, TRAC Waters
and Sea Lettuce


16% of TRAC waters are eutrophic or potentially eutrophic.
Why? Due to the presen...
No longer sufficient to ‘see’
groundwater largely in terms of wells

Springs

Wells
Groundwater as a contributor to
surface water
Weathered/broken rock zone as
pathway for water and contaminants

Hook Head, Co. Wexford
Groundwater as a contributor to
groundwater dependent ecosystems
(GWDTEs)

Pollardstown Fen - a GWDTE
Surface of Groundwater
Progress

 Very little

 Environmental Supporting Conditions not
known:

 Nitrogen & Phosphorus ...
Phosphate in GW:
Discussion

 Rivers in blue are ‘less

than good’ status
mainly due to diffuse
pressures
 PO4 in ground...
Groundwater Threshold
Values (TVs)
 TVs are in the Groundwater Regulations and have
been reported to the world
 TVs are ...
High Status Surface
Water Bodies


9% of rivers and 28% of lakes.
 Number of high quality river sites halved in last 20
...
Some Context!!

Sewage pipe!!

holiday house in
west of Ireland
Sinéad

The Stray Cat
Ponded
effluent

26
27
Start of
percolation
test

Next day

Conclusion: site
is not suitable

28
20-30% of
impact due to
OSWTSs

Map source: CDM &
Eastern RBD RBPM
Gley soils &
limited soakage

Map source: CDM &
Eastern RBD RBPM
Drinking Water
Protected Areas
 Results of Status Test:
 2 Ground Water Bodies at
POOR STATUS
Nitrate Trends in Rivers
 NO3 concentrations are stable
 43% of all (surveillance + operational)
stations had concentrat...
Groundwater Surface 
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  1. 1. Surface Water and Groundwater Status Donal Daly Hydrometric & Groundwater Section Environmental Protection Agency Acknowledgement: Colleagues in EPA and on WFD Groundwater Working Group
  2. 2. Water Freamework Directive Water Status “A measure of the present” Status is the key element determining the measures to be employed in the Reliability Based Decoding Management Plans to achieve the objectives of the Water Framework Directive Based on an evaluation of: pressures, physical settings and monitoring results
  3. 3. Ecological Status for Surface Waters Pass WFD Fail WFD
  4. 4. Interim Status Assessment of Rivers River Qualit y – WFD I nt erim St at us Ecological Class Hi g h Good Moderat e Poor Bad Num ber of Wat er Bodies (9%) 738 (40%) 509 (28%) 389 (21%) 41 (2%) 173
  5. 5. Interim Status Assessment of Lakes Lak e Qualit y – WFD I nt erim St at us Biological Class Hi g h Good Moder at e Poor Bad Num ber of Lak es ( 2 8 .0 % ) 75 ( 27.7% ) 94 ( 34.7% ) 17 ( 6.3% ) 9 ( 3.3% ) 76 Surf ace Ar ea ( k m 2 ) 3 7 .1 % ) 204.4 ( 20.5% ) 397.9 ( 40% ) 7.1 ( 0.7% ) 16.5 ( 1.7% ) 369.6 (
  6. 6. Main Causes of “less than good” Status Surface Water Bodies  Discharges from Wastewater Treatment Plants (nutrients)  Diffuse Agriculture (resulting in inputs of Phosphorus and N)  Forestry (sediment and Phosphorus)  Urban areas
  7. 7. Groundwa ter boundary Aquifer boundary GROUNDWATER BODIES ARE NORMALLY LARGE (10s to 100s km2) WILL HAVE SEVERAL SW BODIES ASSOCIATED WITH EACH ONE 3-Dimensional Geological/hydrogeological boundaries Groundwater Bodies (GWBs): the management unit of the WFD (not aquifers)
  8. 8. Groundwater Status  Groundwater Directive The overall aim of the WFD is to achieve “Good Status” for all GWBs by 2015 Status Scale: Status assesses Average GWB Conditions Local issues are managed under site specific “Prevent or Limit” legislation, but they may still impact on status
  9. 9. GWB Results: Quantitative Status  4 GWBs at Poor Status  2 due to unsustainable longterm abstraction  2 due to abstractions impacting on the supporting water level/flow conditions of wetlands
  10. 10. GWB Results: Chemical Status  111 GWBs at POOR STATUS  Relates to 14% of RoIs area  Main Drivers:  MRP contributing to SW Eutrophication (101 GWBs)  Metals from Historic Mining Activities (5 GWBs)  Contaminated land / Urban (2 GWBs)  Diffuse NO3 (2 GWBs)
  11. 11. Issues Arising (Selected) 1) Nitrogen & trac waters and sea lettuce 2) Groundwater as an input and a pathway to surface water 3) Groundwater Dependent Terrestrial Ecosystems 4) Phosphate in groundwater impacting on surface water ecosystems 5) Groundwater Threshold Values 6) High status sites 7) Nitrate Trends
  12. 12. Who undertakes water body classification?  Environment Protection Agency undertakes and is responsible for this work Small Stream Risk Score method not used for status; but part of investigative monitoring
  13. 13. Drifting Ulva blooms (Green tides) (‘sea lettuce’!!) on the Brittany coast
  14. 14. N s
  15. 15. Nitrogen, TRAC Waters and Sea Lettuce  16% of TRAC waters are eutrophic or potentially eutrophic. Why? Due to the presence of nutrients, mainly Nitrogen & Phosphorus.  Coastal waters (median) for N = 2.6 mg/l (or 12 mg/L) at fresh water interface  Main Nitrogen Sources  diffuse agriculture  Short–term Implications:  A potential health hazard  An expensive and difficult collection & disposal issue  Medium to long–term Implications:  Investment in upgrading needed  Reduction in nitrate loss to groundwater  Lag time for reduction???
  16. 16. No longer sufficient to ‘see’ groundwater largely in terms of wells Springs Wells
  17. 17. Groundwater as a contributor to surface water
  18. 18. Weathered/broken rock zone as pathway for water and contaminants Hook Head, Co. Wexford
  19. 19. Groundwater as a contributor to groundwater dependent ecosystems (GWDTEs) Pollardstown Fen - a GWDTE
  20. 20. Surface of Groundwater Progress  Very little  Environmental Supporting Conditions not known:  Nitrogen & Phosphorus environmental quality standards needed  groundwater level and flow conditions
  21. 21. Phosphate in GW: Discussion  Rivers in blue are ‘less than good’ status mainly due to diffuse pressures  PO4 in groundwater the main cause in red areas.  Specific measures to reduce PO4 “leakage” to GW may be needed  Will existing measures
  22. 22. Groundwater Threshold Values (TVs)  TVs are in the Groundwater Regulations and have been reported to the world  TVs are mean concentrations  TVs are not Emission Limit Values  TVs are trigger values that prompt further investigation: not the boundary between GOOD and POOR status Parameter Threshold Value Test Reason for TV  must NO Nitrate TVs 37.5 mg/lbe 3 appropriate to the receptor, e.g. Drinking Water/General GWQ Protect Human Use Human TCE/PCE s 7.5 ug/l use (drinking water) General GWQ Surface Chloride s 24 mg/l Cl water Saline Intrusion s Wetlands Conductivity 800 uS/cm Saline Intrusion MRP 35 ug/l P Surface Water Quality Ammonium 65 ug/l N Surface Water Quality Protect Human Use-Point Source Upper Limit of NBL Upper Limit of NBL SW EQS SW EQS
  23. 23. High Status Surface Water Bodies  9% of rivers and 28% of lakes.  Number of high quality river sites halved in last 20 years.  High status Water Bodies are critical to species biodiversity  Deterioration to ‘good’ not allowed, therefore measures to prevent this of critical importance and a high priority  Sensitive to pressures (forestry, farming, peat extraction, rural housing) so ‘low level’ activities may cause the deterioration  Additional measures to protect these areas likely to be needed
  24. 24. Some Context!! Sewage pipe!! holiday house in west of Ireland Sinéad The Stray Cat
  25. 25. Ponded effluent 26
  26. 26. 27
  27. 27. Start of percolation test Next day Conclusion: site is not suitable 28
  28. 28. 20-30% of impact due to OSWTSs Map source: CDM & Eastern RBD RBPM
  29. 29. Gley soils & limited soakage Map source: CDM & Eastern RBD RBPM
  30. 30. Drinking Water Protected Areas  Results of Status Test:  2 Ground Water Bodies at POOR STATUS
  31. 31. Nitrate Trends in Rivers  NO3 concentrations are stable  43% of all (surveillance + operational) stations had concentrations <10mg/l, with 21% >25 mg/l  Over 70% of surveillance stations had concentrations<10mg/l NO3, with 3% >25mg/l  But more time and data needed to test for statistical significance.
  32. 32. Groundwater Surface 

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