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Use of Telematics in Water Quality Management and Monitoring in Hungary

Reliable information concerning water quality is a prerequisite for water quality management. The necessary information is collected primarily by systematic measurement. Water quality monitoring of Hungarian surface waters started four decades ago. Within the present monitoring system, samples are typically taken on a fortnightly basis from 150 sampling sites. Samples are analysed for major physical, chemical and hydrobiological components. The data collected is processed in the "VM" database. The water quality monitoring data system is an integral part of the complex information network which includes water quality and hydrology.

WATER QUALITY MONITORING

Sound water quality management relies on up-to-date information concerning the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of water resources. Water quality monitoring is the effort undertaken to obtain quantitative information on the above mentioned characteristics of water via statistical sampling. The objectives of water quality monitoring are: the identification of water quality state and water quality trends, identification of pollutant loads, testing of compliance with standards and classification systems, early warning and detection of pollution.

Long term standardised measurement, observation, evaluation and reporting of the quality of surface waters started in the 1950's in Hungary. The evolution of the monitoring network of surface water quality is illustrated in Table 1. The number of sampling sites has decreased appreciably, accompanied, however, by an increase in sampling frequency.

 

Year

Number of sampling sites

Number of samples per year

1954

1400

1

1956-1959

800

4

1960-1967

800

2-112

1968-1984

300

12-26-52

1985-1993

250

12-26-52

1994-

150

12-26-52

Table 1. Historic development of the water quality monitoring network in Hungary.

Actual monitoring practice, regulated by the National Standard: MSZ 12749, involves samples being taken normally at bi-weekly intervals, but in the key cross-sections on a weekly basis. The total number of sampling sites is 150. The samples are analysed for the main cations, anions, nutrients, trace elements, organic micropollutants, radiological components, bacteriological and hydrobiological parameters.

The monitoring network, (operated by both the environmental and public health authorities) is required to perform the following functions:

  • Provide the necessary data for the general assessment of the quality of surface waters;
  • Build a database suited to monitoring any changes in the quality of surface waters, and in particular to detect and identify pollution impacts originating from industrial and consumer-based activities in Hungary and abroad, as well as from natural sources;
  • Produce the data series necessary for international water quality assessments and as background material for negotiations on boundary streams;
  • Produce data series for research and planning purposes.

The standard sampling stations of the surface water quality monitoring network are situated:

  • In the boundary cross sections of streams entering or leaving the country;
  • Upstream and downstream of discharges affecting water quality in streams, and;
  • In cross sections of special importance (e.g. water intakes).

Other important considerations in selecting sampling sites were:

  • Operating in parallel with a station of the hydrological observation network, or where not feasible, the possibility of establishing valid correlation with the nearest gauging station;
  • Accessibility.

Sampling points are normally located in the stream's centreline or in the line of the main current.

The factors involved in deciding upon the frequency of sampling were:

  • The level of data required for statistical processing;
  • The variability of water quality over time;
  • The importance of the sampling site, and;
  • The capacity of the analytical laboratory facilities.

The samples are analysed for its chemical and hydrobiological components in laboratories of the 12 District Environmental Inspectorates. These laboratories are technically not able to analyse all the monitored micro-pollutants. Specific organic micropollutants are mainly analysed in appropriately equipped central laboratories. Microbiological parameters are measured by the Public Health Laboratories of the country's 20 counties. The applied analytical methods are also regulated by the MSZ 12749 Standard. Special attention is paid to quality assurance of the analytical work of the laboratories by running an inter-calibration programme.

The measured data are sent from the laboratories to the Institute for Environmental Management (KGI). The data is sent on diskette generally at monthly intervals. The collected data is checked and stored with the national database. "VM" is a software that was developed to process the database. VM provides statistical evaluation of the data in accordance with the classification system under MSZ 12749.

The water quality monitoring data system is an integral part of the complex information network that includes water quality and hydrology.

TRANSBOUNDARY WATERS

Hungary is a typical downstream country within the Danube basin. The major part of its surface water resources originate abroad. The national boundaries are crossed by 90 separate water courses. As a consequence of this hydrological character, Hungary has great interest in the water quality monitoring of transboundary rivers. Bilateral agreements with neighbouring countries ensure the legal basis for regular joint water quality investigations, water quality evaluation of transboundary rivers, and water quality data sharing across national boundaries. Joint Commissions on Transboundary Waters are responsible for this collaboration, and regular joint water quality investigations, water quality evaluation, and joint- measures concerning accidental pollution events began as early as the 1960s and 1970s. Some technical details concerning bilateral transboundary monitoring practices are summarised in Table 2.

 

Countries

Austria- Hungary

Slovakia- Hungary

Ukraine- Hungary

Romania- Hungary

Yugoslavia- Hungary*

Croatia- Hungary*

Slovenia- Hungary*

Number of sampling sites

11+8**=19

10+1x3**=33

2

7

3

3

1

Sampling procedure

In odd months: Austrian sampling
In even months: Hungarian sampling

Joint sampling

Joint: 4
Ukrainian: 4
Hungarian: 4

Romanian: 12
Hungarian: 12

Joint: 4
Yugoslavian: 4
Hungarian: 4

Joint: 4
Croatian: 4
Hungarian: 4

Joint: 4
Slovenian: 4
Hungarian: 4

Sampling frequency (per year)

12

12

12

24

12

12

12

Frequency of analysis (per year)

Usually: 12
Special components: 6

Usually: 12
Special components: 6

12

24

12

Usually: 12
Special components: 4

Usually: 12
Special components: 4

Laboratory site of analysis

Odd months: Austria
Even months: Hungary

Slovakia: 12 analysis
Hungary: 12 analysis

Ukraine: 8
Hungary: 8

Romania: 12
Hungary : 12

Yugoslavia: 8
Hungary: 8

Croatia: 8
Hungary: 8

Slovenia: 8
Hungary: 8

Number of yearly data agreement meetings

1

2

1

Results accepted without data agreement meeting

1

1

1

Data exchange

Direct exchange of hard copy data

Direct exchange of hard copy data

Direct exchange of hard copy data

Data exchange by fax

Direct exchange of hard copy data

Direct exchange of hard copy data

Direct exchange of hard copy data

Evaluation method for the measured data

Statistical parameters biannually

Statistical parameters biannually

Statistical parameters for every year

Statistical parameters for every year

Statistical parameters for every year

-

-

Trend analysis

Once in 10 years

Once in 5 years

-

Once in 5 years

-

-

-

Spreadsheet software

EXCEL 5.0

EXCEL 5.0

-

EXCEL 5.0

-

-

-

Water quality criteria

National standards

CMEA system (six classes, 1984)

CMEA system (three classes, 1963)

-

CMEA system (three classes, 1963)

CMEA system (three classes, 1963)

CMEA system (three classes, 1963)

Frequency of inter-laboratory calibration

One per 12 samples

-

One per 12 samples

One per 12 samples

-

-

-

Table 2. Water quality monitoring of transboundary waters. Details of cooperative monitoring practices.

* Situation in 1991
** Lake Fertő: longitudinal and cross-sectional sampling sites
*** River Danube at Szob: cross-sectional sampling sites
   
   
For more information visit http://www.rec.org/REC/Programs/Telematics/Telematics.shtml



 
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