The analysis of water is important to detect a source of pollution, to establish its pathways for monitoring purposes. The direct analysis of water is studied in projects 264 (rain water and trace element pollutants in sea and estuarine water) and 297 (components in surface and drinking water). Direct analysis, however, presents only the actual state of water quality. Pollutant concentrations may change rapidly depending upon the nature of the source (peak effluent emissions vs. steady effluent conditions), the nature of the water (strong currents have increased pollutant levels by sediment resuspension); the ionic strength, etc.
To monitor changes over a longer period of time (weeks-years) indicator organisms are frequently analysed. These organisms (e.g. plankton, aquatic plants, shellfish) are in prolonged contact with water passing their sedentary place (mussels) or with moving water (plankton).
Sediments are taken when it is necessary to study long or short term history of pollution. The stratigraphic pattern of pollution in a core of a sediment represents the fluctuation of pollution in time at a certain place.
Therefore, it was decided to certify the contents of trace element pollutants (As, Cd, Cu, Hg, Pb, Se, Zn) in some indicator organisms and representative types of sediment. The materials finally chosen are: sea lettuce, mussel tissue, plankton and river-, lake and estuarine sediments.
The sea lettuce (CRM 279) has been certified for As, Cd, Cu, Pb, Se and Zn (Report EUR 11185, 1988). Mussel tissue (CRM 278) was certified for As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Mn, Pb, Se, Zn (Report EUR 11838, 1988). Three sediment estuarine sediments (CRM 277), lake sediment (CRM 280) and river sediment (CRM 320) were certified for As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, Sc, Se, Zn (Report EUR 11850, 1988).
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts