Phosphorus concentrations in rivers

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Assessment made on  01 Jan 2001

Generic metadata



DPSIR: State


Indicator codes

Policy issue:  Are phosphorus concentrations in our rivers falling?


Key assessment

Phosphorus concentrations have fallen in all types of rivers in Europe. The lowest values are found in countries with low populations and high levels of sewage treatment, such as Sweden and Finland, while the highest levels are found in Belgium.

Phosphorus levels share some of the same characteristics as nitrate pollution - the highest levels are found in smaller rivers, for example, while phosphorus levels are higher in rivers with catchment areas dominated by agriculture. On the other hand, phosphorus levels are also high in rivers draining areas with large urban populations.

European Environment Agency (EEA)
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1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100