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ESS Topic 5.

2 - Detection and Monitoring of Pollution

5.2 Detection and Monitoring of Pollution
5.2.1 Describe two direct methods of monitoring pollution.
You should know one method for monitoring air pollution and another method for
monitoring either soil or water pollution.
• air pollution • measure the acidity of rain water to determine levels of
• measure CO2, CO, or NOx levels in the atmosphere using a gas sensor
• measure particulate matter suspended in the atmosphere
• soil pollution
• conduct tests for nitrates and phosphates according to the test manufacturer’s
instructions (refer to the LaMotte tests we have in class)
• measure the level of organic matter in the soil
• water pollution
• nitrate and phosphate tests
• fecal coliform tests
• tests for heavy metals
5.2.2 Define the term biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and explain how this
indirect method is used to assess pollution levels in water.
• Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) is the amount of oxygen required to support
respiration by organisms living in a water sample.
• high BOD indicates there are many organisms using oxygen for respiration
• low BOD indicates relatively few organisms needing oxygen for respiration
• high BOD = low DO levels = high pollutant levels, especially nitrate & phosphate
• low BOD = high DO levels = low pollutant levels
5.2.3 Describe and explain an indirect method of measuring pollution levels using a
biotic index.
• We can measure pollution levels 2 different ways: we can measure the pollution itself
directly, or we can use some other factor that is correlated to pollution levels as an
indirect indicator of those pollution levels.
• Trent biotic index - Here is what I found about the Trent Biotic Index:

“The Trent Biotic Index was first published by Woodiwiss (1964) who was employed
by the Trent River Authority (England)....Hand samples and kick samples taken with
a hand net (780 micron mesh) are taken in such a way as to include material from
all microhabitats. He devised a scheme in which the number of groups of defined
benthic [on the bottom under a body of water] taxa was related to the presence of
six key organisms found in the fauna. These organisms were plecopteran larvae,
ephemeropteran larvae, trichopteran larvae, Gammarus, Asellus and tubificids plus
red chironomid larvae. In practice, organisms are sorted into groups and streams

International School of Tanganyika IBDP ESS 2010-2011

Instructor: Mr Brad Kremer

Gammarus. Most notable advantages mentioned were ease of use and its ability to correctly classify moderate to grossly polluted waters. especially for moderately or heavily polluted sites.cpcb. ← ← Balloch et al. • Disadvantages: not specific enough. • Advantage: Easy to use. When compared to the Chandler scores (CBS and ACBS noted below) the Trent index proved of little value in determining intermediate levels of pollution in rivers known to have a well defined spatial pattern from clean to grossly polluted conditions (Murphy 1978). (1976) also suggested that the Trent Biotic Index was affected by habitat quality making interpretation of the index difficult.” (Source: http://www. Overall. doesn’t fully account for habitat quality • We can also use “abiotic factors that change as a result of the pollutant” to indirectly test the pollution levels such as dissolved oxygen (DO) or BOD levels of the water (IB ESS Course Companion p. Refer to p.ku. (1976) reviewed the Trent Index and listed a number of advantages and disadvantages associated with its use.Detection and Monitoring of Pollution are classified (10 for clean water to 0 for grossly polluted) according to the presence or absence of key groups and the diversity of fauna. predominantly light grey indicates relatively particulate-free air) • Gammarus . 280 of the Course Companion. especially mildly and moderately polluted waters.pdf ) • In summary: • the Trent Biotic Index uses the presence or absence of 6 key organisms (plecopteran larvae.2 . This index like the saprobic system does not take into account the relative abundance of the organisms present. ephemeropteran larvae. Both Murphy (1978) and Balloch et al.edu/datalibrary/assets/library/KBSreports/KBSRept35b. • Indicator species are those species that are present either only in polluted areas or only in unpolluted areas.small crustaceans that are sensitive to different salinity levels International School of Tanganyika IBDP ESS 2010-2011 Instructor: Mr Brad Kremer . In general Balloch et al. the Trent Index appears to lack the sensitivity desired by most workers interested in assessing the degree of biological impairment associated with various levels of water quality. For example… • freshwater shrimp • freshwater mussels • stonefly nymphs • caddisfly larvae • rat-tailed maggot and sludge worms in polluted water • peppered moth wing color (predominantly black indicates high levels of soot and particulate matter in the air. Asellus and tubificids plus red chironomid larvae) to indicate the relative level of pollution in a stream.ESS Topic 5. were very critical of this index and indicated that it was not suitable for use as a criterion of water quality because of its general insensitivity to varying levels of impact.278). trichopteran larvae.

which is relatively tolerant of pollution.ESS Topic 5.Detection and Monitoring of Pollution • Asellus . and therefore an indicator of polluted sites International School of Tanganyika IBDP ESS 2010-2011 Instructor: Mr Brad Kremer .another small freshwater crustacean.2 .