RiverDip Volunteer Training Website Launched by the Sullied Sediments Project Partnership
One of the ambitions of the Sullied Sediments project is to reduce the levels of certain Watch List chemicals entering our waterways by raising awareness about what we, as citizens and consumers, are releasing into the environment through the use of common drugs and household products. As part of our awareness raising campaign for the project, the Sullied Sediments team has developed a ‘citizen science’ programme called RiverDip. The programme involves training volunteers to take samples from their local waterways and measure the levels of phosphate in them.
Phosphate is a chemical that you would expect to find in rivers and canals because it is commonly used in fertilisers, manure, and organic wastes in sewage and industrial effluent. It is an essential element for plant life. However, when there is too much of it in water, it can cause algae and aquatic plants to grow in abundance, thereby choking up a watercourse and using up large amounts of oxygen needed by other organisms. The main tools that our RiverDip volunteers use to gather water samples and record the phosphate levels are: a paper device (PAD) that uses a colour change process to detect and visually represent the level of phosphate in a water sample (working very much like a pregnancy test) and a bespoke app called RiverDip, which volunteers use on their smart devices to record the results from the PAD and share them with the project researchers (downloadable for free from the Apple app store and Android Play Store).
The new RiverDip training website is aimed at volunteers who are interested in taking part in RiverDip. The website explains what is entailed in the sampling activity and includes a video and step-by-step guide. There is information about how volunteers can register to get involved and what to expect. The website also provides key messages about the presence of chemicals in our inland waterways and some of the simple changes that we can make to reduce our impact on the environment.
We were initially planning to deliver the RiverDip training in-person through a series of workshops across the North Sea Region. Given that we are limited now in our capacity to do this, we decided that it would be best to create digital training resources that volunteers can access safely and securely online. The RiverDip training website and video are available here:
Our aim is to reach as many people as possible in as many locations across the North Sea Region (and beyond) as possible.
If you have any questions or comments about the RiverDip website and video, please do not hesitate to contact Annabel Hanson, Sullied Sediments Project Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.