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Understanding Water Quality in the Lunan Water Discussion Group 1 st May 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding Water Quality in the Lunan Water Discussion Group 1 st May 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding Water Quality in the Lunan Water Discussion Group 1 st May 2008

2 Welcome Purpose of today –To find out your views regarding the health of the Lunan Water and present some results from our research. Many right answers – want your range of views and experiences from people living in the area Purpose of research –To better understand water quality using scientific and your local knowledge Part of a wider project funded by the Scottish Government involving SAC & SEPA Any Questions?


4 Lunan Water



7 1 st Exercise: Icebreaker On the handout, please identify where you live in the catchment with a cross Circle what parts of the Lunan Water you visit or use Please sign the map with your name

8 2 nd exercise: What, where, why? What do you think of the health of the Lunan Water? Note we mean all aspects of water not just chemical quality Where, if anywhere, do you think things needs to be improved? –Shade these areas on the map with a pencil or pen What might be causing these issues in the Lunan Water?

9 Your information has given us a good feel for all the issues in the area Our research focuses specifically on one issue: nutrients Present our results to date for discussion Use your information to question and refine our research in the future

10 Nutrients in the Lunan Water What are they –Fertilizers –Nitrogen and phosphorus What do they do in surface waters ? –Cause unwanted plant growth Where do they come from –Agriculture and sewage –Loch sediments Are they a problem ?

11 Negative effects of nutrients Nitrogen –Excessive algal growth in estuaries –Leads to loss of oxygen in water –May result in loss of marine habitat Phosphorus –Excessive algal growth in lochs –Leads to loss of oxygen in water –May result in loss of fish habitat

12 Are nutrients a problem in the Lunan Water ? Algal blooms in Rescobie Loch –What causes them ? High Nitrogen concentrations –Resource protection issues –Impacting health of North Sea –Possible ammonium toxicity Do we know how much nitrogen and phosphorus is moving in and out of the loch and down to the sea ? –We need a budget!

13 Simple nutrient budget Flux –How much nitrogen (or phosphorus) goes under the bridge at Kirkton Mill every year ? –Flow X Concentration –Reliant on SEPA-collected data

14 SEPA Sampling Sites

15 Lunan Water Flows & Nitrogen

16 Nitrogen summary 42 tonnes/month runs into sea Almost all from agriculture (+/- 99%) At £270/tonne for N fertiliser, this is equivalent to pouring £400,000 into the sea, every year!

17 What about Phosphorus ? Much lower amounts than nitrogen –Kilograms as opposed to tonnes More complicated story –800+ septic tanks –Loch sediments –Agriculture –Sewage treatment works

18 Rescobie Loch Phosphorus

19 Septic Systems & Phosphorous Septic systems are designed to remove harmful bacteria from waste, not to remove nutrients Phosphorous enters the system through products we use and human waste If systems are not working, nutrients can flow from the soakaway through the soil to the water

20 Lunan Water Septic Systems

21 STW Locations

22 STW Phosphorus

23 Phosphorus Budget Input (kg/yr) Output (kg/yr) Kirkton Mill2500 Septics250-1000 (10-40%) Sewage Treatment Works ? Lochs350 (14%) Agriculture (by difference) 1150-1900 (46-76%)

24 Summary Nutrients in the Lunan Water are affecting the health of the lochs and the North Sea Nitrogen is mostly from agriculture Phosphorus is from agriculture, septic systems, loch sediments, sewage treatment works, etc.

25 Discuss Results What, if anything, surprised you about these results? Did you think this budget captured the main issues for the catchment? Did you learn anything from these results? What are the main things we should take away from this discussion?

26 What can we do? Households with septic systems Reduce what goes in to prolong life of system: –Increased volume of water fills tank up faster – use less water or increase capacity of system Minimum size for family of four is 2700 litres –Use low phosphate detergents –Avoid putting things that harm bacteria (paint thinners; bleach, cooking oils and fats) into system –System can’t digest paper, nappies, cigarette butts

27 What can we do? Households with septic systems Maintain your system: –Choked tanks cause the system to fail as bacteria can’t function Pump out sludge (between 1-5 year interval) Using garbage waste disposal unit doubles the time it takes to fill up Have system inspected every few years

28 What can we do? Signs that a system is failing: –Sewage backing up or delay to drain away –Smell from septic tank –‘spongy’ soil around soak-away –Ponding from ‘break-through’ to surface Signs that effluent impacting water quality: –Grey slime on stream bed –Smells –Obvious difference in plant life downstream Contact SEPA to report pollution & Scottish Water, or Angus Council for list of contractors

29 What can we do? Land Managers Explore the Best Management Practice Handbook: Environmental Focus Farm project –Group of local farmers sharing good practice with each other & Monitoring programme to assess effectiveness of measures –Organised by SAC with inputs from Macaulay & SEPA

30 What will we do now? Summarise the information we’ve got from you –Transfer the information from worksheets & discussion onto one map –Explore issues that we hadn’t thought about or been able to calculate Send out a summary of the findings from all three discussion groups If you are interested, arrange another set of meetings to explore the issues in more detail (late 2008 onwards)

31 Thank you very much for all your input If you want more information, please contact us: Kirsty 01224 498200 ext 2389 Martyn 01224 498200 ext 2410 Malcolm 01224 498200 ext 2411

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