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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE2170 Water Quality

10 creditsClass Size: 80

Module manager: Dr Colin Pitts

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

A pass at level 1

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Water Quality is a module that can be enjoyed by anybody with an interest in issues about water pollution. You will learn about the various sources of water contamination in the environment and how these impact on the ecology and human use through abstraction. There are also basic explanations about the technology behind the treatment processes. There is also the opportunity to gain a detailed understanding of the methods that are used to monitor and assess pollution and the standards that we set to assess water quality. The legal and institutional frameworks used to manage water pollution are also incorporated into the module. The module is taught in semester 2 through a series of 16 one-hour lectures and the choice of taking one of three fieldtrips. NB: these will be on a Wednesday afternoon and students must attend at least 1 of the fieldtrips in order to pass the module. The module is suitable for anyone with a basis understanding of the water cycle and pollution.


On completion of this module students will have a thorough understanding of the complex interactions involved in the pollution of surface water systems. The inter-disciplinary nature of water quality issues will be examined through the relationships between the lithosphere, atmosphere, human activity and the hydrosphere on local and global scales. Human response to these issues will be examined with reference to legal and managerial frameworks of water quality control within the UK and Europe.

Throughout the module special emphasis will be placed on the impact of water pollution on ecosystems and consequences to public health.

Skills outcomes
The module places considerable emphasis on:
- recognising and using subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts and principles;
- analysing, synthesising and summarising information critically, including prior research;
- applying knowledge and understanding to address familiar and unfamiliar problems;
- recognising the moral and ethical issues of investigations and appreciating the need for professional codes of conduct.

The module places moderate emphasis on:
- collecting and integrating several lines of evidence to formulate and test hypotheses;
- appreciating issues of sample selection, accuracy, precision and uncertainty during collecting, recording and analysis of data in the field and laboratory;
- developing the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (eg working independently, time management and organisation skills);
- developing an adaptable and flexible approach to study and work.

The module places some emphasis on:
- using the Internet critically as a means of communication and a source of information.


- Introduction
- Types and sources of water pollution
- Waste water treatment
- Impact of organic pollution on rivers
- Agriculture and water quality

- Urban pollution
- Toxicology, Ecological monitoring of water pollution
- Acid mine drainage
- Acidic precipitation
- Water treatment for supply
- Recreational water quality
- Aquatic microbiology

- Novel compounds and their effects
- Water pollution law
- Water pollution management.
- Field trip (1 of 3 from Sewage works; Mine drainage; Drinking water)

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours80.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

- 3 hours reading per lecture (48 hours)
- Fieldtrip (4 hours)
- Fieldtrip preparation (2 hours)
- Revision and exam (26 hours).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Feedback on progress is provided to students throughout the module.

Methods of assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 07/04/2016


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