Weekly chemical tests:
A team from Sustainable Wheatley carry out water quality sampling on behalf of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) Wallingford; this is a long-term study of water quality in tributaries of the River Thames.
CEH is a leading organisation in the study of water quality in rivers. They analyses the samples for a wide range of water quality parameters including, phosphorus, suspended sediment, ammonia, silicon, fluoride, chloride, sulphate, organic carbon and nitrate.
This work helps to identify the sources of pollution from the river basin and indicates the proportion of pollution that is coming from agricultural runoff and from sewage treatment works.
Monthly chemical tests:
In addition, a volunteer team contribute to a project organised by the River Thame Conservation Trust that is looking at the concentrations of nitrates and phosphates in waterbodies throughout the River Thamebasin.
This involves taking water samples and directly analysing them for nitrate and
phosphate concentrations on the bank of the river. The presence of high nitrate and
phosphate concentrations in the River Thame are a major reason for the River Thame not
achieving High Ecological Status under the Water Framework Directive.
Understanding the nitrate and phosphate concentrations throughout the basin is important information in developing strategies for improving the ecology of the river.
Monthly riverfly kicktests:
Thirdly, members if Sustainable Wheatley participate in monitoring wildlife levels in the River Thame. A timed kicktest, during which sediment is dislodged and rivefly samples are gathered and counted, takes place to provide another measure of the health in the waterwaly to the River Thame Conservation Trust. The presence and number of certain species of riverflies gives a measure of the oxygenation and the impact of pollution in the river basin.