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Vol. 32 No. 3
May-June 2010

The Project Place | Information about new, current, and complete IUPAC projects and related initiatives
See also www.iupac.org/projects

Guidance for Substance-Related Environmental Monitoring Strategies Regarding Soil and Surface Water

In environmental polices, substance-related monitoring is an essential tool for risk assessment. The soundness of policy decisions, including risk management measurers, are directly related to the reliability of the environmental monitoring programs. In addition, monitoring programs are needed for identifying new and less-investigated pollutants of concern in different environmental media.

Scientifically sound and feasible monitoring concepts strongly depend on the aim of the study. The proper definition of questions to be answered is of pivotal importance. Therefore, this new IUPAC project will address different approaches to substance-related monitoring for soils and surface water, including sediment.

The project objectives are as follows:

  • provide guidance for the selection, elaboration, and performance of substance-related monitoring strategies regarding soil and surface water sampling
  • provide an overview of available, scientifically sound and feasible monitoring strategies for substance-related environmental monitoring
  • discuss advantages and shortcomings of different strategies, requirements for technical and personal equipment, and quality assurance

The aim of investigative monitoring or “snapshot monitoring” is to get a first impression of the pollution of selected areas or input scenarios (e.g., monitoring of inputs via sewage sludges within a certain region) and to screen for new and less investigated pollutants of environmental concern. This investigative monitoring often does not fulfill the criteria for being “representative” since it does not involve systematic selection of sampling sites for sheer pragmatic reasons.

Trend monitoring and compliance monitoring operate within well-selected sampling sites. The aim of this study type is to accurately trace the concentrations over a certain time period, thus allowing detection of seasonal variations, accidental inputs, and the effectiveness of regulations.

Storage of samples and repeated sampling at well-selected and carefully documented sites can lead to retrospective monitoring as performed by environmental specimen banks. In this context, the proper documentation of related meta-data is paramount to explain and interpret the observations on the “time-capsuled” samples. Sample handling, storage, and the analysis of the samples are important steps.

For more information and comments, contact Task Group Chair Werner Kördel <koerdel@ime.fraunhofer.de>.

www.iupac.org/web/ins/2009-048-1-600


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