Phosphorus, Nitrogen & Microbiological based Water Pollution Essay

One of the most critical issues which need to be addressed by the citizens and environmentalists is the issue of pollution and its variants. The era of globalization might have changed the shape of the world we live in but it had affected the environment in the process. Pollution has grown even more since the last five years than we can possibly imagine. If we actually dissect the whole issue of pollution, it’s the water pollution which has grown rapidly in the last few years than any other form of pollution. Factually speaking water bodies cover almost seventy percent of the earth’s surface and the pollution hazards of it can create havoc and can bring earth to a catastrophic end. Water pollution usually occurs when a water body gets contaminated by different materials which are usually not present in it and which are harmful in nature. So in such a situation the water body is no longer useful for its intended use and hence is termed as polluted. If we consider the case of pollutants, there are two variants of water pollution. They are called as point source and non point source. Point sources of pollution happen when harmful substances are emitted directly in the water body and non point sources are those which deliver pollutants indirectly usually through environmental effects. It is generally regarded that water pollution which arises from non point sources are usually difficult to deal and ironically these are the ones which account for a majority of the contaminants in water bodies like streams and lakes. In order to understand the whole scenario clearly lets give a brief introduction to causes of pollution. We all know that there are many elements which cause pollution. Some of the important ones are sewage and fertilizers. These are dangerous because they contain nutrients like nitrates and phosphates. The main problem is that these nutrients stimulate the growth of aquatic plants and excessive growth of these organisms clogs the waterways. They also block light to the deeper section of the water body and this affects fish and other living organisms. Pollution is also caused when silt and other suspended solids, such as soil, construction and logging sites, urban areas, and eroded river banks when it rains. Normally, lakes, rivers, and other water bodies undergo Eutrophication, an aging process that slowly fills in the water body with sediment and organic matter. When these sediments enter various bodies of water, fish respiration becomes impaired, plant productivity and water depth become reduced, and aquatic organisms and their environments become suffocated. Now that we mentioned about the various ways in which water pollution lets also mention the sources of water pollution before we go in to the specifics of water pollution with reference to Ireland. Normally there are three major sources of water pollution. They are Municipal, Industrial and Agricultural. Of these municipal sources are of paramount importance while dealing with the specifics of the assignment. Municipal water pollution consists of waste water from homes and commercial establishments. The main goal of treating municipal

wastewater was simply to reduce its content of suspended solids, oxygen-demanding materials, dissolved inorganic compounds, and harmful bacteria. In recent years, however, more stress has been placed on improving means of disposal of the solid residues from the municipal treatment processes.

Water Pollution in Ireland

It is generally perceived Ireland to be a land laden with greenery, rivers and lakes. This in fact helps people of Ireland to promote it as tourist destination. One basic fact that Ireland did not experience pollution in other forms is that Ireland remained agriculturally dominant country even during the industrial revolution thereby making it a safe destination in British Isles. However Ireland is facing crisis regarding its environmental outlook as recent trends and statistics have shown that upcoming industrial and urban growth has marred some environmental aspects which it possessed before. Another important facet of the whole debate is that there has been a rise on the level of pollution in rivers and lakes. This whole thing has become an important environment concern for the government. Whilst it is known that it is not a panic situation but we can say that rate of the pollution caused by it is quite alarming. There is a concern that pollution levels of the inland waters will increase substantially in the next few years if the problem is not mitigated soon. Water quality surveys prove that the quality of the inland waters has decreased since they were first assessed in the 1970s. According to the EPA, which quoted as follows While this deterioration in the quality of the aquatic ecosystem is relatively minor in many cases, it signals a change from the near pristine conditions which obtained in many areas up to the 1970s.In this assignment we also focus our attention on eutrophication, which we can term as the main cause of water pollution in Ireland. We also talk about pollution caused by the nutrients like nitrates and phosphates which are destroying the water bodies in the country.

The European Council which is the legislative body of European Union has set some standards and directives which are to be followed by the member countries. One such standard called Dangerous Substance Discharge Directive defines a framework which helps member states of the union to reduce discharges of dangerous substances to inland and coastal waters. All the countries are expected to meet certain minimum requirements and since the inception of the directive. Ireland has struggled to meet the requirements. Two main reasons were the failure to adopt pollution reduction program and failure to regulate phosphorous emissions.

Eutrophication

One of the most important and a serious environment concern in Ireland today is Eutrophication. A phenomenon mostly visible in lakes, eutrophication is described as the phenomenon of over-enrichment of waters by nutrients like nitrates and phosphates. Although relevant to lakes, it has grown over other water bodies like rivers. The principal effects of the phenomenon are increased weed growth, leading to blockage of channels, siltation, and, in some cases, to deoxygenation. In inland surface waters, the presence of excess levels of phosphate is the primary factor governing the extent of eutrophication, while in estuarine and coastal waters nitrate is more likely to be the controlling factor. Both nutrients are present in abundance in many wastes – notably sewage, even when it is treated. This has been bolstered by the fact that the Environmental Protection Agency reports that excess phosphorous is the main cause of the phenomenon and that all sectors of economic activity contribute to this problem. Few reasons which attribute to the present day concern over the phenomenon are that Ireland is predominantly an agricultural country and that the farming is considered as the main cause of eutrophication. But it is also needed to understand that apart from farming industrial waste and sewage discharge also worsens the scenario. Ireland recognizes the problems caused by eutrophication as the most serious problem which is affecting the country. The government has issued publications outlining how it plans to solve the problem using a catchment-based strategy. The excessive phosphorous enrichment of water has the potential to become an even greater problem in the future if no changes are made. The Environmental Protection Agency is also concerned because, as the growth rate of economic activity continues to increase in Ireland, the likelihood of phosphorous loss to water also increases. Currently, both the rivers and lakes of Ireland are in danger of increased pollution due to eutrophication. The statistics also shows the similar picture with following statistics quoted by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2002 wherein it reported that water quality surveyed in 304 lakes throughout Ireland in the period 1998-2000 and of which 260 of these lakes (85%) were found to have low or moderate algal growth, which was consistent with them suffering little of no pollution. The remaining 44 lakes (15%) were, however, found to be suffering from eutrophication.

Lakes & Rivers in Ireland

Fig: Water Quality in Rivers (1995-1999)

A lake of any significant size has a long retention time. In many lakes the bulk of the material brought in may be trapped permanently in the bottom sediments. With phosphorus, the potential effect on algal growth is largely determined by the retention time: the longer this time, the greater the opportunity for algae to take up the phosphorus in the water. Conversely, in rapidly flushed lakes the phosphorus input may have relatively little impact.

Much of the phosphorus entering a lake may be retained in the sediments, reaching there either directly on silt particles or in the remains of dead algae. This sediment phosphorus may become available again to algae under certain circumstances, e.g., by the stirring up of the sediment material by turbulence in shallow lakes. When comparing a lake to river we can say that a river is a highly dynamic system, river water is constantly flowing. While the discharge of a waste at a given point may have catastrophic effects on the resident fish population, as well as the flora and fauna, and may also cause severe pollution for many miles downstream, the river – however much it has been damaged – has not been ‚Äėkilled‚Äô. One reason is that, once the discharge has been stopped for good, a recovery process will begin. The residual waste will be diluted by clean water flowing down stream and carried away, the flora will recover, the fauna will recolonise, and the fish will return in time. From the figure given we can understand that though the situation is not alarming it certainly can be called as concern.

Microbiological Contamination of Water

We all know that water serves as drinking and household purpose for human beings and contamination of such water can prove catastrophic to many lives that includes both humans and aquatic life. Normally these microorganisms contaminate the water to excessive levels making it useless. Ireland also is facing such a problem due to its economic activities. Microbial contamination of the water, and here the term water refers to the ground water, actually arises from many sources. The sources include land spreading of the agricultural slurries and waste waters. These are actually main disposal options used by the farming community because of the two reasons. They are cheap and contain high contents of utilizable nutrients. Other factors that cause microbial contamination of water are of geological and hydro geological in nature. These factors, of such nature, include rainfall, temperature, microbial loading, ionic strength and organic matter. When we consider the scenario of Ireland we can say that ground water vulnerability represents the intrinsic geological and hydro-geological characteristics that determine the ease with which groundwater may be contaminated by human activities.If we look at the drinking water scenario in the country, we can say that microbial contamination is one of main threat and safety to it. The table can illustrate this.

Table 1 Waterborne Outbreak in Ireland for 2004

Type of Outbreak Location Organism Number ill Number hospitalized

General outbreak Community Cryptosporidium parvum 6 1

General outbreak Hospital Cryptosporidium spp. 3 0

General outbreak Community Cryptosporidium spp. 9 2

General outbreak Community Cryptosporidium spp. 5 0

General outbreak Sports club E. coli O157 4 3

General outbreak Private house E. coli O157 4 0

Family outbreak Private house E. coli O157 1 1

Family outbreak Private house E. coli O157 1 1

General outbreak School Suspect viral organism 14 0

Source: Private communication with Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC)

The microbial contamination of water typically originates from municipal sources like sewage, animal manures and organic wastes. One form of contamination, which takes place in drinking water, is the presence of faecal coliforms. It is to be understood that any forms of faecal coliforms like for example an E.coli in any drinking water at any moment is dangerous and can indicate a health risk if not treated properly. In Ireland, there is increasing concern about the potential of drinking water as a possible transmission route for Verotoxigenic Escherichia coli (VTEC) and other water-linked diseases such as and viral related illness. It is also understood from the statistics that in the year 2004 many water borne diseases were reported in Ireland all of which can be attributed to microbial contamination of water. Now let’s give a brief overview of some of the important microbial organism’s diseases that are affecting the people of Ireland. One of the most important microbiological organism’s diseases that has affected almost whole of Ireland is Verotoxigenic Escherichia coli or famously called as VTEC. It causes wide range of illness like mild diarrhea to hemorrhagic colitis. The effects are severe abdominal pain, diarrhoea and death in some cases. Usually cases of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), a form of renal failure, have been registered in Ireland due to VTEC. Apart from this VTEC is also an important cause of gastro-enteric illness in the country. The table, which shows the waterborne outbreaks in Ireland in 2004, also showed two outbreaks, which were liked microbiologically with drinking water from private wells indicating the potential of this type of water supply in the transmission of VTEC infection. Similarly in the same year the North Eastern Health Board (NEHB) reported a cross health board outbreak of VTEC O157 linked to a sports club. Four confirmed cases were reported, three of whom were admitted to hospital (Table 1). Drinking water used at the venue, and supplied from an untreated private well, was found positive for the outbreak strain. One important point which actually relates to the table which was shown previously is that number of people either ill or were hospitalized were only confined to people in Ireland. Another important thing to talk about when we are discussing about the microbiological contamination of water in Ireland is the presence of Cryptosporidium. Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite, which is usually found in humans and some times in animals. Cryptosporidium parvum and C. hominis are main species, which are usually associated with human infection. It causes an annoying disease called cryptosporidiosis, typically characterized by severe watery diarrhoea with abdominal pain, accompanied by nausea, vomiting, weight loss and fever. With both humans and animals serving as reservoirs, multiple routes of transmission are looked upon as a possibility. The consumption of contaminated water is regarded as being an important transmission route, but infection can also occur as a result of recreational bathing, consumption of contaminated foods, animal-to-person and person-to-person transmission. It is noted that in 2004 human cryptosporidiosis became a recognized disease in Ireland, with over 400 cases of cryptosporidiosis being registered making the parasite the most common gastrointestinal pathogen in the whole country. It is indicated by the table that at least four outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis were reported in Ireland where the mode of transmission was suspected as waterborne. The legislation in the country has made an indirect requirement for monitoring the Cryptosporidiosis. However there is no proper standard set in the drinking water legislation. To create awareness about the whole issue, the HPSC published a report on waterborne cryptosporidiosis, which recommends all the providers of water for human consumption to apply risk assessment techniques for Cryptosporidium to their supplies. Accordingly the Environment Protection Agency reported that risk assessments were carried out on 331 individual pubic water supplies by the authorities, which will help in determining the vulnerability of public water supply. It is quoted by the EPA that of the 363 risk assessments carried out (i.e. some supplies have more than one source) 21% were identified as being in the high-risk or very high-risk categories. Although there is not much room to find the implementation of source protection measures at most of plants in 2004 we can commiserate ourselves with the risk assessments at these plants which can be termed as moving in a right direction. Food Safety Promotion Board decided to set up a Cryptosporidium Research Network to enhance communication and research collaboration between those concerned with medical, veterinary and environmental aspects of this protozoan parasite on the island of Ireland. The Research Network will run from 2004 to 2009 and it is hoped that greater co-operation and communication will result in improved detection of contamination and more effective prevention and control programmes on the island of Ireland. Another microbiological organism, which forms an integral part of the group, which spreads the contamination of water, is Norovirus. This causes gastroenteritis, which is typically characterised by nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhoea, accompanied by abdominal cramps and sometimes headache, fever, chills and muscle aches. Mollusks, for example oysters, are shellfish products extensively produced in Ireland for export. Shellfish which are filter feeders essentially trap and concentrate whatever materials are present in the water. This can include pathogenic microorganisms and viruses such as Norovirus. As per the current standards for shelled and shucked products of crustaceans and shellfish are based on monitoring the levels of E.coli. The reasoning behind the whole issue is equivalent to the reasoning used in drinking water, which had the presence faecal coliforms and which indicated the possible presence of pathogen. One main problem is created when shellfish are polluted by municipal sources like sewage and thus leading to contamination by viruses in particular Norovirus. It is reported that in the year 2002 contaminated oysters were shipped to Hong Kong thereby causing viral food poisoning. Analysis showed that Norovirus was acting as a causative agent. Also it is known that Norovirus is usually found in humans and hence it was confirmed that sewage discharge into the water in which the shellfish were grown in Ireland caused the contamination. Thus in this way we have presented an overview of the major things which catalyses the process of microbiological contamination in the water in Ireland. Now let’s look at some of the ways we can actually gauge the whole situation. We know that some micro-organisms are harmful and some are harmless to humans. These can be removed through disinfection methods. Water bodies such as lakes, streams and rivers are more prone to microbiological contamination of water and therefore are more likely to show seasonal variations. The following diagram shows one method to check the samples of Cryptosporidium. It is called as Cryptosporidium sampling unit. One advantage with these microorganisms is that they are useful in determining the quality of the water. Such a group of organisms are called as coliforms. These indicate faecal contamination of the water source as told before. If these are high in number then it can be inferred that water is contaminated. Disinfection methods of chlorination and UV disinfection can remove the problems.

Apart from the Colifroms, another area of concern is the contamination of water bodies with Cryptosporidium. The concern is that it is resistant to the traditional disinfection methods as well as chlorination methods and hence can only be removed by micro-filtration or by some other advanced techniques. Apart from the normal water bodies’ contamination of microbial organisms also take place in drinking water and hence it is also necessary to facilitate methods to remove contaminants from them. Fortunately drinking water services use a micro filtration technique to protect against these organisms.

Fig: Chlorine dosing plant

Apart from the micro-filtration chlorine dosing is also used. In this way the microbiological contamination of water bodies can be removed in an appropriate manner.

Chemical Disorders with Water Pollution: Nitrogen & Phosphorous

Sometimes Waste water from industrial and manufacturing plants creates water pollution and such a pollution of water involves chemicals and hence it can be inferred that chemical disorders are highly hazardous components which can destroy complete river outlet or stream and in case of country like Ireland it is even more hazardous because of the increasing economic activities from past few years and thus creating more waste water pollution in the environment. So now lets us understand the pollution problems created by nitrogen, its effects and finally measures to prevent the catastrophic.

Nitrogen as we all know is the most abundant gas available in this universe and unfortunately as per the reports of the scientists human beings have the increased the amount of nitrogen naturally available to the planet‚Äôs ecosystems over the past century. The sources of nitrogen include burning of fossil fuels in vehicles and power plants, fertilizer plants and cultivation of crops like peas and rice which covert nitrogen gas to fixed nitrogen. Apart from these other activities include burning forests and grasslands. All of this excess nitrogen is being washed into waterways, carried downstream, and deposited in estuarine and marine systems, where it contributes to eutrophication (Webster, 2002). The important point is nitrogen also can act as a fertilizer in aquatic ecosystems and so when too much nitrogen is washed into waterway, it initiates a reaction of plant and algae growth resulting into system imbalance and in the process deplete the oxygen supply. The following is a scientific explanation of the process of nitrogen cycle. The conversion of atmospheric nitrogen gas into chemical forms which are useful to plants, nitrogen ions (N03-) and ammonium ions (NH4+), is called nitrogen fixation, and it is done primarily by cyanobacteria in soil and water and by rhizobium bacteria living in small nodules on roots of a wide variety of plants. These plants convert organic nitrate ions and ammonium ions in soil into DNA, proteins and other nitrogen containing nutrients. Animals, in turn, get their nitrogen from eating plants or other animals. After nitrogen has served its purpose in living organisms, bacteria and other organisms convert the nitrogen-rich organic compounds, wastes, castoff particles and dead organisms into simpler inorganic compounds such as water-soluble salts containing ammonium ions (NH4+). Other specialized bacteria, primarily anaerobic (without oxygen) bacteria in the soil or in sediments at the bottom or of lakes, oceans, swamps, and bogs, then convert these inorganic forms of nitrogen back into nitrite (N02-) and nitrate (N03-) ions, and then into nitrogen gas, which is released into the atmosphere to begin the cycle again. Now if we look at the industrial process which have gained momentum in the last few years we can see that nitrous oxide level in the atmosphere has increased and thus is creating problems as atmospheric deposition of nitrogen compounds may occur through wet deposition in fog, freezing rain, hail, rain and snow, or in dry deposition as droplets, gases, and particulates. Another point to be noted is that since nitrogen is a natural component of ecosystems and hence it was never perceived to be threat. On the contrary it was thought to be beneficial. But research studies have shown that it is likely to cause decline in ingenious plant communities by rooting put for high nitrogen response plants. Now let‚Äôs focus our view on nitrates. Nitrates with chemical formula of NO3 represent the most oxidized chemical form of nitrogen. Nitrate is considered as a widespread contaminant of water bodies in general and in particular case of surface waters. The accumulation of nitrate in the environment mainly results from non point sources like nitrogen fertilizers, point sources such as Concentrated Animal feeding operations and untreated sewage. Apart from this nitrate waste are also produced by many industrial processes, burning of fuels in industrial plants like power plant and vehicles. It is widely stated in EPA regarding the protection of water bodies that nitrogen is one of the two substances which pose as a immediate threat to the water bodies in Ireland, other being bacteria. Additionally high nitrate levels in water lead to reduced vitality, low birth weight and slow weight gain in livestock as studied by the researchers. Nitrate level is monitored in municipal water supplies world-wide, and in foodstuffs, to prevent exposure of populations to harmful or toxic levels. So we need to figure out the ways in which we can prevent nitrogen pollution in water and few ways which can be used are creating awareness regarding the quality and safety of water and usage of anti chemical kits to remove the chemical impurities from the water. This can be applied to nitrate since it is a harmful substance and also because the nitrate contamination is widespread. If we look at the specifics of Ireland we can say that Ireland has realized the dangers of nitrate contamination and hence it has protection act committee called ‚ÄėThe Protection of Water against Agricultural Nitrate Pollution Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996‚Äô. The committee has judged the whole scenario and has identified vulnerable zones, which are known as the area which contribute to the pollution of the waters and the after this stage , monitoring of the situation is done by using the sampling stations which enables to monitor areas like surface water and ground water aquifers. And based on the sampling data analysis, proper action plans or progammes are taken in account to combat the problem. Thus in this way we can deal with issues regarding chemical disorder of nitrogen pollution with respect to water. Now in the next section we shall look into the chemical disorder of water pollution with respect to phosphorous pollution.

Phosphorus based Water Pollution

One of the major factors that affect the productivity of most modern industries is the usage of chemicals. Usage of chemicals in most industries across the world is inevitable as these form the basic raw materials. Virtually all factories make use of chemicals, either directly as a raw material to process their goods or as a catalyst to speed up reactions. If for neither of the reasons, still chemicals are used to run the machines and locomotives used within an industry. Benefits of chemicals to supplement a modern lifestyle are multifold. Various forms of chemicals such as petrochemicals, agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals have become essentials in everyday lives of people. However with increasing use of chemicals, our environment and consecutively mankind faces a grave problem of Environmental Pollution. (Roy Harrison, 2001).

Phosphorus is one such chemical that emulates a Pandora’s Box. On one hand phosphorus is a very essential chemical that finds constant usage in industries, agriculture and everyday life while on the other hand it is a bane of Pollution.

Phosphorous is used in all Fire Starting objects. Infact all matches make use of phosphorous for its fire catching qualities. One interesting irony is that phosphorus which is used to make fires can also be used to stop or reduce the hazards of fire. Compounds of phosphorus act as flame-retardants for many flammable materials. Apart from these, phosphorus is a major ingredient in lubricants, cleaners, metal treating solutions, water treatment, fertilizers and pesticides. Traces of phosphorus are also found in everyday household items such as toothpastes and shampoos.

However phosphorus has certain inherent qualities that make it dangerous. Importantly, White Phosphorus, which is a common state of phosphorus, is an extremely noxious substance. White Phosphorus and also several other compounds of phosphorus are highly corrosive and act as poison to human health. Accumulation of phosphorus in products such as fruits and vegetables, due to pesticides are a major concern to health of mankind. Secondly, excessive concentrations of phosphorus in water bodies lead to abnormal growth in algae which consequently retards normal aquatic plant growth.

Water Pollution due to Phosphorus

Phosphorus is an essential chemical to the environment. It assists the growth of plants and sustains life. However concentrations of phosphorus in water bodies cause a serious degradation. The main reason for water pollution due to phosphorus is abnormal growth of algae. Dr. Chandrasekharan, from the department of chemistry in University of Massachusetts, Amherst gives a very detailed explanation as to how phosphorus causes destruction of aquatic life. Because phosphorus forms insoluble salts with many metals, by nature phosphorus is not readily available compared to other elements. Particularly in water, since salts have poor solubility, concentration of phosphorus is limited. This leads to the conclusion that, the natural cycle of phosphorus is slow in nature. Therefore in many water bodies, by nature, phosphorus is not readily available that may cause any harm. But the extensive human usage of fertilizers changes the natural order. Pesticides contain soluble salts, which the rain can easily dissolve. These salts are taken by the rain water flow to the river. Because of the unavailability of metals that can precipitate the phosphorus, it will remain in water until it reaches the sea. This leads to an increase of phosphorus concentration in seas leading to abnormal flourishing of algae (Chandrasekharan, nd). Excessive growth of algae hampers the growth and sustenance of other aquatic life, such as plants and fish. This process is known as eutrophication. Eutrophication consequently leads to natural imbalance.

The Ireland Perspective

Ireland is a country with several water bodies. The major water bodies of Ireland include Shannon River, Blackwater River, Suir River, Lee River and the Inny River. It has been estimated by Ireland's Environmental Protection Agency that 27% of its rivers are affected by eutrophication (Edie News, 2006). Ireland has had a tough time in meeting the guidelines of the European Council on water quality standards. One of the most stringent and important legislation passed by EU is the Council Directive 76/464/EEC established in 1976. This Directive offers a framework for how member states are to reduce discharges of dangerous substances to water bodies. One of the main reasons for Ireland not to be able to meet the requirements of the directive passed by EU is Ireland’s failure to regulate the flow of phosphorous from industries and farmlands which is the main reason for water degradation in Ireland. Irish times have recently stated that, eutrophication has resulted in the death of large quantities of fish in Irish rivers. One of the worst cases of fish kills recently occurred in a stream that feeds into the Shannon River. In June of 2000, the dead fish count in this stream alone approached 2,000 (Erin Munley, nd).

Excess phosphorous is the primary cause of eutrophication in the rivers of Ireland. Farming has been the predominant occupation in Ireland. Irish farmers have been using pesticides that are cited as the main cause of eutrophication of inland waters. To add on to this, other activities such as sewage discharge and industrial waste are adding to the degradation. Toner quotes that, at the local level, other industries, such as fish farming, forestry development, and road building, also cause phosphorous enrichment of water (Toner, p. 190).

Remedy

Ireland has taken up the problems of water degradation due to excessive usage of phosphorus on a nation wide scale. Several remedies are being implemented in order to meet the sanctions imposed on use of phosphorous by European Union. Mainly, Ireland has come up with several stringent rules and regulations in order to control the use of pesticides. Some of the regulations mentioned in the bill passed in 2006 deserve a special mention.

‚ÄúChemical fertilizer shall not be applied to land unless the controller of a holding can demonstrate in accordance with the provisions of the Schedule that the amount is not in excess of crop requirement taking into consideration soil fertility status, the recommended phosphorus index of the soil for the crop and the supply of phosphorus available from the application of organic manures.‚ÄĚ (Northern Ireland, 2006 No. 488)

“According to the Northern Ireland Bill passed, the land application of chemical fertilizer shall not be permitted under the following circumstances:

(a) The soil is waterlogged; or

(b) The land is flooded or likely to flood; or

(c) The land is snow-covered; or

(d) The soil has been frozen for 12 hours or longer in the preceding 24 hours; or

(e) Heavy rain is forecast within 48 hours; or

(f) The land is steeply sloping land where, taking into account factors such as proximity to waterways, soil condition, ground cover and rainfall there is a significant risk of causing water pollution.‚ÄĚ (Northern Ireland, 2006 No. 488)

The bill also sanctions the usage of phosphoric chemical fertilizers in areas which are in close vicinity to water bodies, or those lands where application of pesticides would lead to the flow of it directly to a water body.

The EPA is continuously promoting environmental awareness throughout Ireland through the provision of public access to up-to-date environmental information. To bolster its attempt in doing so, it has also initiated a website with which it hopes to reach out to all the people and spread the awareness of environment pollution. The web site has been designed in such a way that it caters to the requirements of associated organizations as well as common public (Irish Scientist, 1999). Thus in this way we have covered the chemical disorder of water pollution involving phosphorous and have covered the detailed aspect view of microbiological and chemicals based water pollution in Ireland.

References:

Stevens, R.J. (1980). The different forms of phosphorus in freshwater. Analytical Proceedings, 17(9): 375-376.

Hallberg, G.R. (1989) Nitrate in ground water in the United States. In: Nitrogen Management and Ground Water Protection, R.F. Follet, ed., Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 35-74.

Foy, R.H. (1986). Suppression of phosphorus release from lake sediments by the addition of nitrate. Water Research, 20: 1345-1351.

Smith, R.V., Foy, R.H., Jordan, C. & Smyth, D.R. (1992). Predicting nitrate concentrations in surface waters in Northern Ireland. Aspects of Applied Biology, 30: 439-443.

Puckett, L.J. (1995) Identifying the major sources of nutrient water pollution. Environmental Science & Technology: 408A – 414A

Kraats, J.A. van de, Ed (1999). ‚ÄúFarming without Harming the Impact of Agricultural Pollution on Water Systems.‚ÄĚ European Network of Freshwater Research Organizations, pp.137-49.

Smith, R.V., Foy, R.H., Lennox, S.D., Jordan, C., Burns, L.C., Cooper, J.E. & Stevens, R.J. (1995). Occurrence of nitrite in the Lough Neagh river system. Journal of Environmental Quality, 24(5): 952-959.

Heaney, S.I., Foy, R.H., Kennedy, G.J.A., Crozier, W.W. and O'Connor, W.C.K. (2001). Impacts of agriculture on aquatic systems: lessons learnt and new unknowns in Northern Ireland. Marine and Freshwater Research, 52(1):152-1

Watson, C.J. and Foy, R.H. (2001). Environmental impacts of nitrogen and phosphorus cycling in grassland systems. Outlook on Agriculture, 30(2):117-127.

Clenaghan, Connor and Matt Crowe (2000). Managing and Protecting the Environment, in Ireland’s Environment: A Millennium Report. Larry Stapleton, Micheal Lehane, and Paul Toner, eds. Wexford: Environmental Protection Agency, April, 2000.

Watson, C.J., Jordan, C., Lennox, S.D., Smith, R.V. and Steen, R.W.J. (2000). Inorganic nitrogen in drainage water from grazed grassland in Northern Ireland. Journal of Environmental Quality, 29:225-232.

‚ÄúLake Water Quality.‚ÄĚ Environmental Protection Agency(n.d). Retrieved February 1,2007 from. http://www.epa.ie/rivermap/report/lakewater.html.

Stapleton, Larry, Annmarie Tuohy, and Micheal Lehane(2000). ‚ÄúStrategic Sectors,‚ÄĚ in Ireland‚Äôs Environment: A Millennium Report. Larry Stapleton, Michael Lehane, and Paul Toner, eds. Wexford: Environmental Protection Agency.

Foy, R.H. and O'Connor, W.C.K. (2002). Managing the effects of agriculture on water quality in Northern Ireland. In: Managing the effects of agriculture on water quality in Northern Ireland, (Eds. Haygarth, P.M. and Jarvis, S.C.), CAB International, Wallingford. pp: 417-440.

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