Physical Appearance

This module is used to investigate the following parameters: sludge, turbidity, discoloration, scum, odour, iron sulphide, colmation (increased concentration of suspended particles in the pore volumes of the stream bed), solid wastes, heterotrophic organisms and vegetation. The objective is to assess watercourses at the regional level. 

With the Physical Appearance module the parameters sludge, turbidity, discoloration, scum, odour, iron sulphide, colmation (increased concentration of suspended particles in the pore volumes of the stream bed), solid wastes, heterotrophic organisms and vegetation are examined and assessed. The aim is a rough assessment of the watercourses with regard to the general water quality requirements (Waters protection Ordinance, Annex 2, paragraph 11) and some additional requirements (Waters protection Ordinance, Annex 2, paragraph 12).  The parameters included in the Physical Appearance module help to identify possible causes of impaired water body biology. For this reason, the parameters of the physical appearance are always included in the aquatic biological surveys (macrozoobenthos, diatoms, macrophytes).

Recorded parameters:

Sludge, turbidity, discoloration, scum, odour, iron sulphide, colmation (increased concentration of suspended particles in the pore volumes of the stream bed), solid wastes, heterotrophic organisms and their origin (natural, anthropogenic, unknown) as well as vegetation. 

Evaluation:

The findings are evaluated using a three-point scale, and possible causes are assessed. No overall evaluation of physical appearance is undertaken: the parameters are assessed individually and can be represented in a large-scale map.

The development of algae and macrophytes is not evaluated, as the interpretation of plant communities involves an identifications at the species level and thus again the intervention of a specialist.