Biological & Chemical Water Quality Assessment

Ireland’s freshwaters are a vital resource and protection from pollution is critical. BEC Consultants carry out biological and chemical water quality assessments to investigate the water quality of rivers and streams as part of baseline ecological surveys, as well as on-going monitoring programmes.

BEC Consultants carry out freshwater macroinvertebrate sampling following standard methods and classify water quality using the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) biotic index, or Q-values. This index rates water quality from Bad (Q1) to Good (Q5). It is calculated based on the macroinvertebrate species present and their relative abundance.

BEC Consultants also carry out targeted chemical water quality assessments, taking samples for laboratory analysis. The list of parameters tested can be developed in consultation with the client, or be set by a licencing authority.

Biological and chemical water quality assessment is often a requirement of Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) licences and Waste Water Discharge Authorisations issued by the EPA.  BEC Consultants can assist in adhering to the conditions of these licences by carrying out the macroinvertebrate sampling, as well as other physico-chemical water sampling.

John Brophy, BEC Consultants’ freshwater specialist, holds a Freshwater Macroinvertebrate Species Identification Qualification (IdQ) from the Natural History Museum, London and is an EPA-registered Small Streams Risk Score (SSRS) operator. This ensures high-quality work in relation to species identification.