Environment-specific water quality guidelines for suspended sediment

Gary Bilotta, Magdalena Grove

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Suspended sediment (SS) is a common cause of impairment of freshwaters. However, there is little evidence as to what should be regarded as an appropriate SS regime for different environments. We compare the SS regimes of ten systematically-selected contrasting reference-condition temperateriver ecosystems that were observed through high-resolution monitoring between 2011 and 2013. The results indicate that mean SS concentrations vary spatially, between 3 and 29 mg L-1. The observed mean concentrations were compared to predicted mean concentrations (probability of membership to one of five concentrationranges) based on a model developed by Bilotta et al. (2012). Predictions are a function of the natural environmental characteristics associated with each river's catchment. This model predicted the correct or next closest SS range for all of the sites. Mean annual SS concentrations varied temporally in each river, by up to three-fold between a wet and a dry year. This variability could be predicted well for all but one site, by modifying the input data to take into account the mean temperature and total precipitation in the year for which the prediction is to be made. The findings demonstrate that water quality guidelines for SS should recognise natural spatial and temporal variations.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2015
Event9th Symposium for European Freshwater Sciences - University of Geneva, 5-10 July 2015
Duration: 5 Jul 2015 → …


Conference9th Symposium for European Freshwater Sciences
Period5/07/15 → …


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