Fast ortho-phosphate measurements with the RiverDip app

11 December 2020 - Published by Charlotte Boeckaert
Our colleagues of the Interreg North Sea Region project Sullied Sediments have developed a simple way to quickly measure ortho-phosphate concentrations in surface waters with a so-called paper analytic device (PAD). The PAD is a blotting paper that gives different shades of blue according to the phosphate concentration in the water sample. For the evaluation of the test result and sharing of the sample location with the project scientists of Sullied Sediments, the ‘RiverDip’ app is used.

Volunteers need to take a water sample onto which the PAD is placed on top. After three minutes of reaction time, the PAD needs to be removed and a picture needs to be taken with the RiverDip app sending the picture to the project researchers. The intensity of the appearing blue color gives an indication of the phosphate concentration in the water. The complete procedure is explained step by step in this video.
The project wants to mobilize as many volunteers as possible to sample rivers and streams in order to better map the widespread phosphorus problem in Europe. Everybody who wants to volunteer can register on the RiverDip website. The PADs are sent to the volunteers by mail and after downloading the app, one can immediately start measuring.

The Sullied Sediments project is developing and testing new tools to better assess, treat and prevent contamination from certain pollutants that can be found in the sediments in our waterways. This involves a citizen science project that encourages volunteers to take samples from their local waterways and measure the levels of phosphate in them.