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Continuous high-frequency monitoring of estuarine water quality as a decision support tool: a Dublin Port case study.

Authors
  • Briciu-Burghina, Ciprian
  • Sullivan, Timothy
  • Chapman, James
  • Regan, Fiona
Type
Published Article
Journal
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
Publisher
Springer Nature
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2014
Volume
186
Issue
9
Pages
5561–5580
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10661-014-3803-9
PMID: 24823471
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

High-frequency, continuous monitoring using in situ sensors offers a comprehensive and improved insight into the temporal and spatial variability of any water body. In this paper, we describe a 7-month exploratory monitoring programme in Dublin Port, demonstrating the value of high-frequency data in enhancing knowledge of processes, informing discrete sampling, and ultimately increasing the efficiency of port and environmental management. Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney tests were used to show that shipping operating in Dublin Port has a small-medium effect on turbidity readings collected by in situ sensors. Turbidity events are largely related to vessel activity in Dublin Port, caused by re-suspension of sediments by vessel propulsion systems. The magnitudes of such events are strongly related to water level and tidal state at vessel arrival times. Crucially, measurements of Escherichia coli and enterococci contamination from discrete samples taken at key periods related to detected turbidity events were up to nine times higher after vessel arrival than prior to disturbance. Daily in situ turbidity patterns revealed time-dependent water quality "hot spots" during a 24-h period. We demonstrate conclusively that if representative environmental assessment of water quality is to be performed at such sites, sampling times, informed by continous monitoring data, should take into account these daily variations. This work outlines the potential of sensor technologies and continuous monitoring, to act as a decision support tool in both environmental and port management.

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