The quality of the run-off water from peat production and its effect on the downstream watercourse is monitored regularly. This is done by water samples, which are taken from the run-off water from peat production areas and from the watercourse downstream of the production area – streams and lakes. Monitoring of run-off water is called discharge monitoring and monitoring of downstream watercourses is called impact monitoring. The sampling points are officially assigned or approved.
Water samples are taken using a sampler designed for that purpose. At the same time the flow is also measured. The samples are taken by a trusted external body. The water samples are analysed by an accredited or otherwise approved laboratory using standardized methods.
In emissions monitoring either an extensive or a constricted analysis is performed on the water samples. The permit provisions, the receiving watercourse and the production stage affect the number of parameters monitored.
The watercourse load of peat production varies depending on the weather conditions. Continuous water quality measurements identify even rapid changes, so that any abnormalities can be reacted to quickly.
Vapo operates seven continuous measuring stations at four different production areas around Finland, providing real-time data on flow and water quality all year round. The location of the measurement stations and the measurement data will be available on Vapo’s website from summer 2012.
Continuous measurement is used to monitor the flow, suspended solids and the chemical oxygen demand (CODMn), which indicates the amount of organic matter in the water as well as certain nitrogen compounds.