In the OPAL Water Survey, our citizen scientists survey the water quality of local ponds using a simple bioindicator system. As part of the OPAL Metals Survey (now closed), they also collected sediment samples from the edge of local ponds or small lakes, which were analysed at a laboratory in London for metal contamination.
What have we found?
The data submitted by OPAL participants shows that:
- Although the majority of sample ponds were clear with good water quality, a significant minority of ponds in every region of England had poor water quality
- Metal concentrations in the sediment samples from the one point at the edge of small water bodies were representative of the wider water body. Samples from large lakes were however not representative of the wider water body
- Metal concentrations in some ponds in every region of England were above thresholds for probable ecological effects, due to current urban activities or a legacy of historical contamination
The following scientific journal papers used OPAL Water Survey data:
- Rose, N.L. et al (2016) Quality control in public participation assessments of water quality: The OPAL Water Survey, BMC Ecology (open access version)
- Turner, S.D. et al (2017) Using public participation to sample trace metals in lake surface sediments: the OPAL Metals Survey (open access), Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
See results on the OPAL Data Explorer
Explore the OPAL Water Survey results and draw your own conclusions. Use the OPAL Data Explorer to:
- Map and graph all Water survey data
- Find out how healthy ponds and lakes near you are
- Analyse your results and compare your results with others'
View Water Survey results on the OPAL Data Explorer (opens in new window)
View more results
- Useful links - learn more about ponds and lakes and the diverse variety of wildlife they support