During Clean Water for Wildlife (2015-2017) we have been supplying free nutrient pollution quick test kits.
If you are interested in purchasing your own kits or gathering other water quality data in your local area, or on a site you own or manage, you can find links below to relevant water testing services and equipment suppliers.
This type of testing is the most expensive but it will provide very accurate results. Laboratory standard monitoring will also report on a wide range of parameters (e.g. pesticides, heavy metals, bacteria, etc.), many of which cannot be tested reliably in the field. An internet search will provide links to many reliable labs offering this service. For example:
National Laboratory Services: The National Laboratory Service operates as a business unit of the Environment Agency. It offers a range of testing services including freshwater analysis. They can undertake water analysis on a range of microbiological and chemical pollutants.
To find out more, please visit their website: http://natlabs.co.uk/
A mid-range price option is to purchase technical field equipment. The equipment is tested against lab standard monitoring and the supplier will provide information on its accuracy, which may be sufficient for your needs. Remember you will also need to calibrate the equipment on a regular basis to maintain the accuracy and there may be additional costs if you need to buy reagent powders to operate the kits each time you take a sample. Check that the kit can measure in the range you want to test; many chemicals are found at very low concentrations in the natural environment and it may only be possible to test them at these low concentrations reliably in a laboratory.
Hanna Instruments: Hanna Instruments provides a range of electrochemical water testing equipment which can be used to collect data on freshwater habitats. For example pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, chlorine and phosphate. We use the low range pH and conductivity meter (HI-98129).
To find out more, please visit their website: http://www.hannainstruments.co.uk/
Budget field kits
Advances in technology mean that you can now buy a range of budget kits which will test some freshwater parameters. They won’t be as accurate as laboratory standard monitoring, but could be sufficient to give you a good guide to the chemistry and quality of the sample you are testing. In the Clean Water for Wildlife project we have tested the nutrient quick kits against lab standard monitoring and have produced a report so that you can understand how we think they are best used. In PondNet we have also loaned volunteers budget pH and conductivity meters which we calibrate before distribution.
Envirocare: Envirocare are a Swedish company which supply water testing kits for a range of pollutants. The nitrate and phosphate quick kits purchased for our Clean Water for Wildlife survey were as follows:
- WAK-NO3-Z (Nitrate-Nitrogen)
- WAK-PO4(D)-Z (Phosphate-Phosphorus)
To find out more, please visit their website: http://envirocare.se/
eBay: Pocket sized pH & conductivity meters allow you to take quick and easy measurements and can be purchased from a range of suppliers including eBay.