Spatio-temporal analysis of the potential toxicological burden of pollutants in a fluvial system, the River Irwell, Manchester, through anthropogenic activities (present and historical) and natural mechanisms

Changes in biological oxygen demand (BOD) along the River Irwell, Greater Manchester

This paper is available through the journal website.

A common topic of student research projects is monitoring and assessing the health of rivers around Greater Manchester. This paper represents a particularly good project by Haseeb Mahmood, who was motivated enough to carry his project through to publication.

In this work, Haseeb collected water samples along the length of the River Irwell, which flows from the Pennine Moors to the Manchester Ship Canal. Along its length it passes through industrial, rural, suburban, parkland and urban environments. These all affect the river water quality. For example, there are measurable changes in biological oxygen demand and phosphate concentration as the river passes by sewage treatment works.

Reassuringly, Haseeb measured lower heavy metal concentrations in the river during summer and winter 2019-20 compared to historical measurements on the same river, indicating that clean-up activities in the last 30 years have been worthwhile.