Oxygen consuming substances in European rivers

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-20-en
Also known as: CSI 019 , WAT 002
Created 08 Oct 2019 Published 03 Dec 2019 Last modified 03 Dec 2019
17 min read
In Europe’s rivers, oxygen consuming substances decreased over the period 1992 to 2017.  On average, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) fell to 51 % of the 1992 level during this period. Ammonium concentrations decreased even more substantially between 1992 and 2017, falling to 22 % of the 1992 level. However, the decrease has been less pronounced since 2010 and an increase has been observed in two most recent years. The decrease in BOD and ammonium concentrations is mainly because of a general improvement in waste water treatment throughout Europe.

Key messages

  • In Europe’s rivers, oxygen consuming substances decreased over the period 1992 to 2017. 
  • On average, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) fell to 51 % of the 1992 level during this period.
  • Ammonium concentrations decreased even more substantially between 1992 and 2017, falling to 22 % of the 1992 level. However, the decrease has been less pronounced since 2010 and an increase has been observed in two most recent years.
  • The decrease in BOD and ammonium concentrations is mainly because of a general improvement in waste water treatment throughout Europe.

Is organic matter and ammonium pollution in European rivers decreasing?

Trends in Biochemical Oxygen demand and ammonium in European rivers

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BOD5
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Ammonium
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Biochemical oxygen demand in European rivers

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Ammonium in European rivers

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Table