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Title: Spatial patterns of surface water quality in the Cértima River basin, central Portugal
Author: Ferreira, Raquel Vasconcelos
Cerqueira, Mário Azevedo
de Melo, Maria Teresa Condesso
de Figueiredo, Daniela Rebelo
Keizer, Jan Jacob
Issue Date: Jan-2010
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry
Abstract: The Cértima River is the principal source of water flowing into the Pateira de Fermentelos, which is one of the largest natural lakes of the Iberian Peninsula and has elevated conservation value. This study aims at a more comprehensive understanding of the spatial pattern in water quality and, thus, pollution problems in and especially upstream of the Pateira, including a comparison with a prior study in 2003. To this end, surface water samples were collected, in May 2007, at 29 sites covering the basin's four main types of water bodies, and analysed for electrical conductivity, dissolved oxygen, biochemical oxygen demand, total suspended solids, various nitrogen species, orthophosphate and chlorophyll a. The results confirmed the existence of marked pollution along the middle section of the Cértima's main course, which can be attributed to wastewater discharges of urban and animal husbandry origin in particular. This represents an important eutrophication risk to the Pateira. Current legislation and water management does not appear to tackle this risk in an entirely satisfactory manner, since the spatial patterns as well as actual values of key physic-chemical parameters do not appear to have changed markedly between 2003 and 2007. Amongst the various parameters, biochemical oxygen demand stands out for frequently exceeding the legal water quality standards. The type of water body proved helpful to explain part of the variation in some of the parameters. This includes clear differences in electrical conductivity between the right- and left-bank tributaries, illustrating well the heterogeneous and complex character of the Cértima basin.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.1039/b914409a
ISSN: 1464-0325
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