A., and Faulkner, H. (2000). An assessment of the suitability of the Environment Agency's
water quality classification system for use in urban catchments. Water and
Environmental Management 14(2), 131-139.
Despite the increasing range of water-quality indicators, the
classification and target-setting strategy which has been adopted by the Environment
Agency for England and Wales is dominated by the assessment of water chemistry at low
flow. Using the example of Pymme’s Brook in north London, this paper examines the
suitability of such data for classifying the quality of urban watercourses and its ability
to reveal quality changes. The data expose a weakness in the Environment Agency’s
methodology, because they suggest that, when used alone, chemical monitoring leads to
water quality being greatly over-estimated and inappropriate targets being set. It is
therefore recommended that other quality indicators should be fully integrated into the
assessment system in order to overcome these problems.
The full paper can be downloaded for free.