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Assessing the impact of COVID-19 lockdown on surface water quality in Ireland using advanced Irish water quality index (IEWQI) model

Uddin, Md Galal, Diganta, Mir Talas Mahammad, Sajib, Abdul Majed, Rahman, Azizur, Nash, Stephen, Dabrowski, Tomasz, Ahmadian, Reza ORCID:, Hartnett, Michael and Olbert, Agnieszka I. 2023. Assessing the impact of COVID-19 lockdown on surface water quality in Ireland using advanced Irish water quality index (IEWQI) model. Environmental Pollution 336 , 122456. 10.1016/j.envpol.2023.122456

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The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted various aspects of life, including environmental conditions. Surface water quality (WQ) is one area affected by lockdowns imposed to control the virus's spread. Numerous recent studies have revealed the considerable impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on surface WQ. In response, this research aimed to assess the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on surface water quality in Ireland using an advanced WQ model. To achieve this goal, six years of water quality monitoring data from 2017 to 2022 were collected for nine water quality indicators in Cork Harbour, Ireland, before, during, and after the lockdowns. These indicators include pH, water temperature (TEMP), salinity (SAL), biological oxygen demand (BOD5), dissolved oxygen (DOX), transparency (TRAN), and three nutrient enrichment indicators—dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN), molybdate reactive phosphorus (MRP), and total oxidized nitrogen (TON). The results showed that the lockdown had a significant impact on various WQ indicators, particularly pH, TEMP, TON, and BOD5. Over the study period, most indicators were within the permissible limit except for MRP, with the exception of during COVID-19. During the pandemic, TON and DIN decreased, while water transparency significantly improved. In contrast, after COVID-19, WQ at 7% of monitoring sites significantly deteriorated. Overall, WQ in Cork Harbour was categorized as "good," "fair," and "marginal" classes over the study period. Compared to temporal variation, WQ improved at 17% of monitoring sites during the lockdown period in Cork Harbour. However, no significant trend in WQ was observed. Furthermore, the study analyzed the advanced model's performance in assessing the impact of COVID-19 on WQ. The results indicate that the advanced WQ model could be an effective tool for monitoring and evaluating lockdowns' impact on surface water quality. The model can provide valuable information for decision-making and planning to protect aquatic ecosystems.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0269-7491
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 October 2023
Date of Acceptance: 23 August 2023
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2023 11:30

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