Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Aspects of solute movement in the British uplands

By Gordon Mitchell


The aim of this research is to determine the process by\ud which runoff draining parts of the UK uplands becomes\ud discoloured. Recent increases in colour are perceived as a\ud problem due to the frequency with which EC surface water\ud directives are breached, to the increased cost of meeting\ud standards, to an increase in consumer complaints, and due\ud to the possible deleterious health effects of consuming\ud coloured potable water.\ud \ud The work was conducted over the last four years, largely in\ud the Upper Burn and Nidd valleys, north Yorkshire, and at\ud the University of Leeds. Existing knowledge on the chemical\ud nature and environmental genesis of coloured water is\ud reviewed, and related to the chemical nature of coloured\ud waters examined in this study. Analysis of water quality\ud archives and direct monitoring of selected catchments was\ud conducted enabling the spatial and temporal distribution of\ud coloured waters to be determined. A tentative process\ud theory was produced, and tested by controlled laboratory\ud investigations.\ud \ud Coloured runoff is derived from Winter Hill soil, raw acid\ud oligo-fibrous peat, and is most intense from areas with\ud slopes < 5% and high drainage densities. The seasonal\ud pattern of colour is highly regular, and is a product of\ud rainfall and soil moisture deficit. \ud \ud Colour is strongly associated with discharge, and demonstrates the operation of a catchment flushing mechanism. Runoff is discoloured in a three phase process; colour production, solubilisation and removal. Colour is a product of organic decomposition, dependent upon microbiological activity, moisture deficit, temperature and peat structure. Solubilisation of colour is dependent upon solution pH, temperature, the chemical structure of organic molecules and the availability of iron. The removal of decomposition products, as colour, is strongly dependent on the moisture status of peat, and its ability to rewet after drying. The implications of these findings for future colour levels and for catchment and catchwater management are discussed

Publisher: School of Geography (Leeds)
Year: 1991
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (12) 7200. doi
  2. (1945).
  3. (1962). doi
  4. (1973).
  5. (1981). Cancer and chlorinated water. Lancet, 1142. doi
  6. (1988). Investigations associated with water discoloration in Derbyshire. Report to WRc.
  7. A.J., doi
  8. among
  9. and doi
  10. and Ghassemi,M., (1966). Chemical nature of organic
  11. and Naden,P.S., (1987). Colour in upland sources. Variations in small intake
  12. Bayne,B.L.,Livingstone,D.R.,Moore,M.N. and Widdows,J.294 (1976). A cytochemical and biochemical index of stress doi
  13. Birch,H.F. (1958). The effect of soil drying on humus doi
  14. Birch,H.F. and doi
  15. Birch,H.F., doi
  16. Black,A.P
  17. Boon,R., Crowther.J. and Kay,D., (1988). Land use investigations; Final report for
  18. Borg,H.,(1987). Trace metals and doi
  19. Borstel,R.C; doi
  20. Briggs,R.,Schofield,J.W and Gorton,P.A.(1976). Instrumental methods for monitoring organic pollution. Water pollution control, 75, pp 47-57.295 British Geological survey.,(1979). Geological survey solid
  21. Brown,J.L. and Farnham,R.S.,(1978). Effect of temperature and
  22. Buckley,B.,Stoner,J.H. and Kay,D.,(1987). Experiences of other undertakings: Welsh water. In Edwards,A.M.C.,
  23. Butcher,D.P.,Labadz,J.C.,Potter.A.W.R. and White,P.,(1990). Moorland
  24. Calder,I.R., (1976) The measurement of water losses doi
  25. Calder,I.R., (1979). Do trees
  26. Characteristics doi
  27. Chlamydomonas: coloured excretion products. Science, 1, 38, p 809 Davies,A.W., (1971), Changes in river water quality associated with
  28. Clausen,J.C. and Brooks,K.N., (1983). Quality of runoff from Minnesota peatlands: doi
  29. Connor,K.J.,(1986). The characterisation and chemical treatment of soluble humic colour in water. I. Characterisation techniques involving the use of sodium hydroxide. 500-S. Report
  30. Conway,V.M. and Millar,A., (1960). The hydrology of some small peat covered catchments
  31. Davies,R.I., (1970). The podzol process. Welsh soils discussion group. 11, pp
  32. De Boer,T., (1987). Applicability of light absorbance and doi
  33. De Haan,H.,(1972). doi
  34. dissolved organic matter in streanwater using visible spectrophotometry. Earth surf. proc. landforms., 10, doi
  35. Edwards,A.M.C.,(1986). Land use in Yorkshire upland gathering grounds.Internal report to Yorkshire water, 6pp.
  36. Edwards.A.M.C., (1987).
  37. effects
  38. Emmerson,W.W. (1959). The structure doi
  39. European Community (1975). Council directive on
  40. European Community,
  41. European Community,(1980). Council directive of 16 June 1975 concerning the quality required of surface doi
  42. Faniran,A., (1968). The doi
  43. ferrous doi
  44. Feustel,I.C. and Byers,H.G., (1930). The physical and chemical characteristics of certain american
  45. Fisher,S.F.,(1970). Annual energy budget of a small
  46. Fisher,S.G. and doi
  47. Fittkau,E.J., (1964). Remarks on limnology of central Amazon rainforest streams. Verh. Internat. Verein. Limnol. 15, pp 1092-1096.300
  48. Ghassemi,M., (1963). The quality of an impounded water as related to the characteristics
  49. Gjessing,E.T. and Samdal,J.E., (1967). Humic substances in water and the doi
  50. Goryunova,S.V., (1952). Characteristics of dissolved301 organic susLtances in water of Glubokoe lake. Tr.Inst. Mikrobiol.,Akad.
  51. Greenwood,D.J.,(1968). Measurement of microbial metabolism in soil. In: The ecology of soil bacteria, (Gray,R.G. and Parkinson,D. Eds.).
  52. Hall,F.R.,(1971). Dissolved solids-discharge relationships, 1: doi
  53. Hayes,M.H.B., (1987) Concepts of the composition and structure of humic substances relevant
  54. Heikkinen,K.,(1985). The characteristics of doi
  55. Hemming,J;
  56. Hobbie,J.E.
  57. (1985). Humic substances in soil sediment and water. doi
  58. hyd.symp., Sheffield,
  59. in
  60. In Proc. Int. Conf. Ecol. Impact Acid Precipit. (Eds., Drablos, D., and Tollan,A.), Sandefjord, Norway, pp 75-83.
  61. Institute
  62. Jackson,T.A., (1975). Humic waters in natural waters and doi
  63. Kay,D.,Boon. and Crowther,J.,(1989). Coloured waters in
  64. Keller,H.M., (1970).
  65. Koenings,J.P. and Hooper,F.F.,(1976). The influence doi
  66. Lamar,W.L., (1968). Evaluation of organic colour and iron in natural surface waters. U.S.
  67. Larson,R.A., (1978). Dissolved organic matter doi
  68. Latter,P.M.,Cragg,J.B. doi
  69. Liimatainen,A. & Grummt,T. 1988: In vitro Genotoxicity of Chlorinated drinking doi
  70. Lucas,S.,(1986). Beating brown water. Water Bulletin. 19 September, pp 8-9.
  71. Lynn,W.C., McKinzie,W.E. and Grossman,R.B., (1974). Field laboratory tests for characterisation of histosols. In Histosols: Their characteristics, classification and use. Soil sci. soc. Amer. special doi
  72. Martin,D.F., Victor,D.M., Dooris,P.M., (1976). Water research, 10, p 65. doi
  73. McDonald,A.T., Kay,D.,Mitchell,G.,Naden,P.S. and
  74. McDonald,A.T.,Mitchell,G.,Naden,P.S.
  75. McDowell,W.H. and Fisher,S.G., doi
  76. Mclauchlin,A.R. and
  77. Meier,J.R; Ringhand,H,P; Coleman,W.E; Munch,J.W; Streicher, R.P; Kaylor,W.H and Schenck,K,M.,(1985). Identification of mutagenic compounds formed during chlorination of humic acid. Mutation research, 157, pp 111-122. doi
  78. Melton,M.A., (1957). An analysis of the relations among element of climate, surface properties and geomorphology. Office of naval research, Geography branch, Project NR 389-042, Technical Report 11, 102 pp.
  79. Midwood,R.B. and Felbeck,G.T., (1968). Analysis of yellow organic matter from fresh water. J.Am. Water works Assn. March.
  80. Mitchell,G. doi
  81. Moore,P.D. and Bellamy,D.J.,(1974). Peatlands. Eley Science London. doi
  82. Morgan,J.J. and Stumm,W., (1964). The role of multivalent metal oxides in limnological transformations, as exemplified by iron and manganese, Proc. Intern. Conf. on water pollution research, pergammon press, New York. doi
  83. Mulder,EG.,(1964). Iron bacteria particularly those of the Sphaerotilus-Leptothrix group, and industrial problems. J. Appl.Bact. 27, pp 151-173. doi
  84. Naden,P.S. & McDonald,A.T., (1989). Statistical modellingsubstances, of water colour in the Uplands: The Upper Nidd catchment 1979-1987. Environmental pollution, 60. doi
  85. Nakamura,R., (1971). Runoff analysis by electrical conductance of water. J.Hydrol.,14, pp 197-212. doi
  86. NERC., (1975). Flood prediction for small catchments. Flood studies supplemenatry report, 6, 5pp.
  87. Newson,M.D., (1975). Mapwork for flood studies. Institute of Hydrology, Report No. 25 44 pp.
  88. Newson,M.D., (1979). The results of ten year's experimental study on Plynlimon. Journal of the institute of water engineers, 33,(4), pp 321-333.
  89. November
  90. of
  91. of natural waters 1968, (CA74:79372), pp 181-198.
  92. organic substances in water. Tech. Gemeindeblatt, 31, p 81.
  93. (1915). Precipitation of iron oxides and aluminium in sand and coarse soils in Finland.
  94. (1978). Regional disparities in the denudation rate of organic sediments.
  95. river
  96. Ronkin, R.R.,(1962). doi
  97. Runoff
  98. (1978). Sulfur pollution and the aquatic ecosystem. In: Sulfur in the environment II - Ecological impacts (Ed.
  99. The doi
  100. (1986). The characterisation and chemical treatment of soluble humic colour in water. II. Characterisation using ultrafiltration, dialysis and spectrometric methods. 501-S. Report
  101. The soil classification for England and Wales (higher categories). Soil survey technical monograph 14. Harpenden: Soil survey of England and Wales. doi
  102. The variation of dissolved doi
  103. UV-visible
  104. (1987). Water in the environment year. Yorkshire water report.
  105. (1909). Water soluble humus material in the northern fresh waters.
  106. waters. Finland. 39.304 Kleemola,E., (1968). Soille tehtyjen altaiden veden

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.