Monitoring of Surface Water Pollution in King Talal Dam and Reservoir
Based on Biological Indicators
An integrated assessment is being conducted on water quality in King Talal dam and reservoir, adjacent to the Royal Botanic Garden.
To evaluate the water quality and degree of pollution, parameters such as organic load, discharge, bottom substrates and pollutants are being examined.
A biological method known as biofilm monitoring is being used, to help determine the overall ecological quality.
An aquatic biofilm (i.e. a film such as "slime" that develops on surfaces in water) has the ability to adsorb and incorporate material from the surrounding water.
Biofilms form on almost any surface exposed to water, and host a microbial community that contain species such as sessile bacteria, protozoa, fungi and algae (Fuchs, 1996).
Depending on their structure, biofilms can incorporate contaminants and grow rapidly, thus offering an easy sampling possibility (Fuchs, 1996).
Since biofilm monitoring is low-cost, the equipment is easy to handle, and few specific requirements are needed at the test site, a high spatial resolution of monitoring is possible.
The analysis of biofilms from the reservoir will deliver reliable, time-integrated results on the sources and state of surface water pollution.
Miriam Leicht, a PhD Student from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)/ Institute for Water and River Basin Management in Germany is performing her PhD research on biological indicators at the RBG site.
Biofilm samplers are being set up at different locations within the water system for 7 to 14 days, depending on the organic load of the water. During this time, a biofilm will grow on the surface of the collector and incorporate any particulate and dissolved pollution passing through the sampler.
Afterwards, the biofilm can be easily harvested from the sampler and transferred to a lab for subsequent analysis of specific pollutants (heavy metals, organic volatile compounds, etc.).
In addition to the pollutant monitoring described above, a biological method based on macroinvertebrate communities will be applied at the project area in Wadi Rumman.
This method, which is well established throughout Europe, results in an assessment of the ecological status of local rivers and streams.
Macroinvertebrates will be collected at different spots where running water is found. The next step is to determine the main functional groups and indicator species. Then, the composition of the macroinvertebrate community, and the presence or absence of specific organisms, will give a further indication of the ecological quality of the stretch of water under consideration.
As this method has not been applied in Jordan up to now, reference data from investigations elsewhere in the Mediterranean region will have to be considered.
In addition, chemical and physical parameters like oxygen, temperature, conductivity, COD, NH4-N, NO3-N and total phosphorus will be analyzed to support the biological findings.
Upon completion, the results of this water quality study will be published and a link will be included on this page.
For further information, please contact us at:
• Fuchs, S., Haritopoulou, T. & Wilhelmi, M. (1996): Biofilms in Freshwater Ecosystems and their Use as a Pollutant Monitor. Water Science and Technology, Volume 34, No. 7-8, pp. 137-140, 1996.
• Description of Work Packages SMART II: “Sustainable Management of Available Water Resources with Innovative Technologies,” 2010-2012.