Phytobenthos are good indicators of nutrient enrichment and other pressures, and can be used to assess river water quality. Diatoms are the main plant groups that we use because their silica shells are easy to identify under the microscope.
Following a consultation that ended on 28th February 2013, UKTAG has finalised its recommendations on 1) biological standards for rivers, lakes, coastal and estuaries and 2) phosphorus standards for rivers.
The Final Recommendations on Environmental Standards following phase 3 of the review have been published (November 2013). This report includes zinc standards.
Setting appropriate environmental standards for metals is particularly challenging because the proportion of metal in the water environment that is bound up in forms that do not pose a risk of toxic effects on water animals and plants varies.
UKTAG requested Freshwater Task Team to develop acidification environmental standards based on new biological methods and additional evidence that has become available since the last round of standard setting in 2006.
The assessment of compliance of surface waters with environmental quality standards (EQSs) for metals has to deal with a number of issues that do not apply to other substances.
A Manganese Bioavailability Tool has been developed that simplifies the integrated Biotic Ligand Model but runs in MS Excel. It requires data input for site-specific dissolved organic carbon, pH and calcium.
A Copper Bioavailability Tool has been developed that simplifies the integrated Biotic Ligand Model but runs in MS Excel.
The UK Technical Advisory Group (UKTAG) has commissioned a programme of work to derive Environmental Quality Standards (EQSs) for substances falling under Annex VIII of the Water Framework Directive (WFD).