keeping an eye on local water quality
University is helping to support a local environmental
group in overseeing water quality in the river Aire and
the becks which run into it, by becoming a guardian of
Eye on the Aire. As well as supporting the group financially,
the University can help by identifying areas of useful
research, and reporting incidences of pollution.
one project by PhD student Gary Beasley, (pictured
left) sixty-two sites near becks across
Yorkshire were monitored for levels of heavy metals and
hydrocarbons, washed into watercourses from vehicle emissions
and components. The highest concentrations were found
near motorways, but certain characteristics of each area
also affected pollution levels.
gradient, roundabouts, junctions and exit lanes all caused
higher levels of copper and zinc in nearby streams. Both
metals are found in tyre and brake components, so where
vehicles are braking, levels are higher. Streams near
areas with roadside parking or lay-bys showed higher levels
of pollutants linked to leaked oil and fuel.
Beasley explains: "Before beginning the research, I met
Eye on the Aire to discuss the areas of information which
might be useful to them. My remit had to cover a wider
area than just the Aire, but this kind of research can
be applied at a local level to influence changes in building
or transport policy and its effect on the local environment."
on the Aire chair Mike Gittins (pictured
above, right) said: "It's useful having
the University on board as a guardian, and we hope that
we can collaborate more in the future. University research
can feed back into our work by providing a scientific
basis for our water quality initiatives."