Ministry of natural resources and environmental protection of the Republic of Belarus

The Republican Center for Hydrometeorology, Radiation Control and Environmental Monitoring
RADIATION - ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING

Surface Water Monitoring

Hydrochemical observations have been carried out in the Republic of Belarus since 1947, while hydrobiological ones – since 1974. 

The stationary monitoring network being under the methodical guidance of RCRCM was formed in line with the principles of the All-State Service for the Observation and Control of the pollution levels of environmental bodies (ASSOC)  and is continuously developing within  NSEM.

Since 2004, observations have been carried out at transboundary sites of water bodies in the Republic (35 transboundary stations). This work is performed jointly with the laboratories of the analytical control of Ministry of natural resources and environmental protection of the Republic of Belarus.

These data are analyzed at the RCRCM Sector for analyzing information and forecasting water pollution levels.

In 2010, surface water in Belarus was monitored at 292 stations. Regular observations cover 81 rivers, 50 lakes, 21 water reservoirs and 1 canal.  Most observation points are located in major residential and industrial areas, i.e. at water sites having the biggest load from concentrated sources of pollution.

Observations are carried out monthly (i.e. 12 times a year) or during the main phases of the hydrological regime (i.e. 7 times a year). Observations at water reservoirs are also conducted during the main phases of the hydrological regime but their frequency is 4 times a year.

 More than 90 components and parameters characterizing the conditions of natural water are identified in water samples, e.g. elements of the basic salt content (e.g. chlorides, sulphates etc.), suspended solids and organic matter, biogenic components (e.g. compounds of nitrogen, phosphorous, iron, silicon), main pollutants (e.g. petroproducts etc.), heavy metals (e.g. copper, zinc, nickel, chromium, manganese etc.), pesticides etc. 

Hydrobiological monitoring is performed for 4 parameters (phytoplankton, phytoperiphyton, zooplankton and macrozoobenthos).

During the years of observations, enormous statistical material has been accumulated on hydrochemistry and hydrobiology of inland surface water that allows to assess the trends in the changing quality of the surface water in the Republic affected by natural and anthropogenic factors. Software complexes «Hydrobiologist» and «Surface Water Monitoring» developed at RCRCM are used for the automated data processing.

On-line forecasting and timely information about possible unfavorable changes of the surface water quality caused by economic activities or hydrometeorological conditions is one of the main tasks of systematic observations of water pollution levels. 

The results of the observations are presented as monthly memoranda, quarterly overviews, year-books of the surface water quality (by its hydrochemical and hydrobiological parameters),  annual data on the quality of surface water, inter-departmental edition «State Water Cadastre», information for the publication of the statistical collection «Environment and Natural Resources of the Republic of Belarus», information for the collection «National System of Environmental Monitoring of the Republic of Belarus: Results of Observations», chapters of the environmental bulletin «Condition of Natural Environment in Belarus», sections of the «Year-Book of Environmental Pollution Conditions in the Republic of Belarus», information on the conditions and pollution levels of water bodies, and background concentrations etc.

Information about the conditions of surface water is provided to the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Statistics, Ministry of Economy, governing and administrative departments, executive authorities, industries and national economic organizations.

The department for analyzing information and forecasting water pollution levels was formed on the 1st of August, 2007 on the basis of the sector. It fulfills the following activities:

o       assessment and forecasting of water pollution levels within the country;

o       assessment of the transboundary water quality;

o       methodical guidance upon the stationary monitoring network laboratories;

o       data accumulation, keeping and processing;

o       analytical information preparing for its publishing in year-books, bulletins and other editions;

o       providing with necessary monitoring information Ministries (of Health, Statistics, Economy), governing and administrative departments, executive authorities, organizations and individuals interested in our information.