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BY-NC-ND 3.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access February 29, 2016

Effects of land use on chemical water quality of three small streams in Budapest

  • Zsuzsanna Angyal EMAIL logo , Edit Sárközi , Ádám Gombás and Levente Kardos
From the journal Open Geosciences

Abstract

The location and development of cities has been influenced basically by various environmental factors. However, the relationship is bilateral, because not only the environment can affect the city, but the city can affect the environment in different ways, depending on recovery. This is especially true in the case of large cities such as Budapest where the different geological, geomorphological, hydrological, soil and bio-geographical conditions can be changed in very small areas, which implies that land use can be also modified as well. The aim of our study was to determine the chemical water quality of three small streams in Budapest which have same water flow and compare the field and the laboratory test results. Between many natural characteristics of these streams similarity is evident, however, several differences were found between the watersheds in terms of human land use. Statistical data analysis was performed as well, which was the aim to explore the relationship between the parameters. Overall, according to our study it can be concluded, the small streams have similar water chemical properties, but some parameters need special attention in the future, because the investigated small streams can be categorized into polluted and sometimes heavily polluted category.

1. Introduction

Rivers have always had an important role in the life of cities; especially their development and evolution. Cities and the industry can endanger or pollute the river waters because of the industrial activity, due to the strengthening of the economic life. For example waters of many smaller urban rivers were utilized to the extent, that they completely dried up or became seriously polluted [4, 5]. Around the world about 450 km3 waste water flows into the rivers every year, nearly half of it (45%) without treatment [9].

Budapest is well known as the city of waters. There is no other capital on the Earth where so many valuable medical and mineral waters emerge to the surface along the Danube. This capability has been utilized from the Roman age regardless of culture by establishing numerous medical water resource and spa. In addition to the ground water the Hungarian capital is very rich in surface waters. More and less streams run down to the Danube both on the Buda (West) and Pest (East) side, which give names for whole parts of the city and influence the land use (Figure 1). These waters ensured for a long time the drinking water needs of the growing urban population [1, 11]. Although the drinking water supply in Budapest no longer relies on the surface water intake, but the most part on the bank filtered waters, thus nowadays is an important task to control the surface and groundwater as well. The need of water resources’ protection is justified by conservation concerns (protection of species, habitat protection). The surface and groundwater can serve as habitat and nutrients for unique organisms’ populations. In many cases, the presence of protected plants (Alnus glutinosa, Thelypteris palustris) depends on appropriate composition of water, and because of the quality the water itself is a nature conservation value. The high population density, the traffic and the industrial activities have influenced the water quality since the end of the 19th century [11, 13]. Many analyses are made continuously around the capital’s major waterways, but the smaller rills, streams are rarely seen in such studies. Previous work includes campaigns which run concurrently to prominent days (e.g. World Water Day, Earth Day), so some of water flow was in the focus for a short time, but their scientific survey has not yet been achieved. However, these small streams can be more prone to stressors, given the fluctuating rate of flow, variable stream geomorphology. This can be compounded by the illegal use of the stream by the population (e.g. landfills, sewer installations). In the case of Budapest main river, the Danube, the large number of small inflow streams may pose a serious impact to due large loadings of pollutants, especially in the estuarine part [2]. That is why the continuous analysis, monitoring of these small streams and evaluation of land use are especially important.

Figure 1. System of streams in Budapest and the three studied stream.
Figure 1.

System of streams in Budapest and the three studied stream.

This study presents the water quality results of three small streams in Budapest. All three streams flow into the Danube on the Buda side, but they pass through distinctly different land use areas. The aim of the paper was to present and explain the effects of different land-use in the case of water quality, and to make recommendations for possibilities of reducing the contaminants, whilst illustrating the need for stricter quality control on inputs into the stream.

2. Streams and their quality in Budapest

The majority of streams can be found within administrative boundaries of the capital, on the west side of Danube (on the Buda side) (Figure 1). These streams are characterized by their mountainous nature, and the response to intense precipitation events, with a quick increase in flow regimes in the streams. On the east side (the Pest side) of the Danube streams are characterized by flatland.

These streams drain on mainly the groundwater, the natural runoff is relatively minor from the back of the low hills. Just now very few streams can be found in ordered, lined riverbeds and the significant part of the riverbeds have been provided with pavement over the years [2].

Since 1990 the quality of the Danube and the most significant streams (Stream of Szilas (Szilas-patak), stream of Rakos (Rákos-patak)) has been measured regularly, several times a year. In the case of the Danube the water samples are collected in three sampling points: on the north part of the capital (District IV), in Csepel (District XXI) and on the south part of Budapest (District XXII, Nagytétény). The samples are evaluated on the basis of the Regulation about the quality of surface water. Looking at the results of the last ten years, it is clear until the beginning of the test plant of the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant (Csepel, 2011) the quality of the Danube passing through the capital – especially the organic and nutrient pollution – is slightly lower, however, in the last few years, the river enters and exits the extent of Budapest in a similar quality. The quality of the Danube except to a few parameters comply with the prescribed limits by law. The phosphorus and nitrogen balance values, which have been slightly above the current limit every year. This is due to inadequate sanitation in many places and illegal rainwater and waste water discharges. Evaluating the all physical, chemical, biological, hydro-morphological parameters, the section of Budapest of the Danube can be characterized by good or moderately good condition [2].

The quality of the main tributary streams of the capital do not comply with the limit values expect to few parameters. Each stream has arrived to the extents of the capital already contaminated. The most critical characteristics are the oxygen, nitrogen and phosphorus balance; in respect of these the water quality is polluted and heavily polluted in recent years. The most important reason of the negative values is the illegal rainwater and waste water discharges along the streams and the fertilization on the agricultural areas outside of Budapest.

Our study has the following objectives:

  1. Assess the water quality of the streams

  2. Identify the potential sources of pollution among the streams

  3. Find a relationship between the quality of the pollution sources and the pollution

3. Materials and methods

3.1 Description of the sample areas

Water quality of three, small streams flowing in the capital on the Buda side into the Danube was investigated in our study. These streams’ hydrographic and hydrological conditions (length, flow, watersheds) are very similar (Table 1), but in many cases differences were observed along the flow by land use.

Table 1.

Hydrological characteristics of the three studied streams.

StreamLength of stream (km)Catchment basin (km2)Runoff (m3/s)
Aranyhegyi-patak2013633,5
Hosszúréti-patak1711431,0
Keserű-ér (Határ-árok)1812013,9

The watershed area of the stream of Aranyhegyi is in the trench of Pilisvörösvár from the capital in the direction of north-west, it is bounded from north by Kevélyek and Pilis, from south by Hármashatár Hill and northern ranges of Nagykovácsi Basin. The total length of the stream is about 20 km; 6 km is within the administrative area of the capital. The capital part of the stream was regulated significantly in the 1920s, the riverbed was diverted. The stream was diverted into a new riverbed following the line of the railway embankment leading to the developed Northern Railway Bridge. Therefore the part of the stream in the capital – especially the bottom two kilometers – is artificial, sewage-type, rigid boundaries are increased by organized backfilling against the river floods. On the administrative area in Budapest the riverbed is controlled, it is paved by parts and it has more natural character towards the boundary of the city. Typical for medium mountain range streams are rapid together-binding side streams, these flow into this stream, but it can be found typically in a broad valley, where it passes between soggy meadow in valley bottom. The water flow is constant, which is gained from the available sources of water and ground water. The Reservoir of Háziréti reduces the risk of sudden floods, which is established outside of the city. The floods of the connecting streams above the reservoir appear equalized on the stream, so primarily torrential character, fierce-running water streams connecting below the reservoir can cause pouring floods in the part of the capital. This can occur particularly during fierce, local high rain falls. In the environment of the stream of Aranyhegy construction work is still on going (Road 10, railway line between Budapest and Esztergom) [1, 11, 13].

The catchment basin of the stream of Hosszúrét (in the geological nomenclature known as Kő-ér) is 114 km2; its length is 17 km, which is just 6 km in the administrative area in Budapest. Its riverbed outside the capital can be found in the Basin of Budaörs, the rainwater of Plateau of Tétény, Hills of Csiki and Hill of Kakukk flows into this stream. The side streams of Kő-ér receive the rainwater of Budakeszi and Törökbálint. The most significant on-flows and side streams in the north part of the catchment basin have intensive drainage ratios, the rocky, vegetation-free cliffs of Hills of Csiki and the environment of midrange mountain near Budakeszi can be found in this area. The mountain range is accompanied by wide valley from south, which has been urbanized since the 1980s. This area was a reedy marsh, in which the rainwater from rain showers could disperse, so its fluctuation was mitigated. Nowadays wide-area industrial and commercial real estates can be found, which reduced the damping effect significantly, and this was not offset by the situation that on the some of the properties there were reservoirs built for water retention. The effect of these facilities in the case of water pouring down from the mountains is not adequate, as the ever frequent and more intensive floods have shown in the last twenty years, which threaten mostly real estates in the District XXII of the capital [10]. There was a large flood in 30th May 2010, when the water flooded the gardens and buildings, and unfortunately a a significant amount of waste oil was washed out from a workshop built in a low area. Due to the pollution the concerned gardens, flats and sewer systems of the area were polluted as well. Reservoirs for water retention in the catchment area are in the agglomeration; the operating data is not available. The fluctuation of this stream is changing because of the climate change and occurred changes in the catchment runoff ratio. According to this, the spontaneous growth of the riverbed is visible in the capital part. The stream – where the riverbed gives a chance – becomes widens and deepens [1, 11, 13].

The other significant stream in the mountain area near Budapest is the Határ-ditch. It is named in the geological nomenclature as Keserű-ér, because it is located near bitter water sources in District XI. The catchment basin spreads in the southern slopes of Széchenyi Hill from the periodic water flowing Irhás Ditch to upper part of Ditch of Edvi Illés Road. The stream and the side-streams are mostly ordered. Exception from this is the Ditch of Edvi Illés Road, which can be found in a nature conservation area and it is has transportation purpose as a deep road. For the purpose of water retention in the lower part of the stream during the water sorting in Gazdagrét near Budaörsi Road was built a 74.000 m3 rain reservoir. The stream and its water system has an urban nature on a long part. On the part of influenced by the Danube it is flanked by embankments. This part of the stream has a deep V section, enhancing which would be expedient. On the further section of the stream it is not possible to enhance the environmental condition, as public and private real estates can be found near the stream. The riverbed of the stream in the vicinity of the Keserűvíz-sources has been constructed with ferro-concrete. In the continuation of the main stream, especially the riverbed of the Ditch of Irhás has been constructed as a closed rain sewer in a significant part. In the upper part RENO riverbed has been built with the support of the European Union. This part is in a natural conservation area [1, 11, 13].

3.2 Land use along the examined streams

These streams are flowing through densely populated and diverse land use areas in Budapest, so their water qualities are influenced by both natural geological and anthropogenic effects. Due to natural and artificial influences and the effect of being filled up by ground water not just the quantity of streams increases, but the added water masses shape the streams to the own characteristics. The traffic appears to be potentially major polluting effect in case of all three streams, because they are crossing nationally important roads and railways. In case of the stream of Aranyhegy main road 10 and 11 and the railway line between Budapest and Esztergom can be mentioned, while regarding to the two other streams Highway M1 and M7 and the railway line between Budapest and Székesfehérvár can be the key factors in the change of the water quality. The urbanization of the areas can be mentioned as potential polluting factor as well, which has become significant in the areas of the capital from the second half of the 20th century. In these areas the construction of sewer systems has begun just in the 1990s, so this could have been one of the reasons of the significant pollution of the streams. In pararell with these constructions local sewage treatment plants have been built in many places, although their efficiency can be questioned in many cases if we look at the water quality data. Illegal municipal landfills were found along all examined streams, which pollute close to the riverbed and even more directly in the riverbed. Along the streams there are agricultural, industrial and service activities, which can be potential polluting sources depending on their profile. The most common effects are the gas stations, auto workshops, former military barracks and varying size and utilized agricultural areas [2].

3.3 Sampling

The sampling happened quarterly in 2013 and 2014 from each analysed streams. The times of the samplings were realized as close as possible, so the weather conditions were very similar to each other. Before samplings field survey was preceded, where the potential sources of pollutants were assessed, which can influence the water quality of the streams. Based on these 8 points from stream of Aranyhegyi, 8 points from brook of Keseru and 8 points from stream of Hosszureti were sampled. These points were determined, where we supposed the pollution was significant (for example: fertilization, livestock farms, illegal wastewater discharges).

3.4 Sampling method

Prior to the laboratory analysis of the water quality samples and field measurements of some parameters were carried out. Samples were taken from all three streams every three months for a year. The samples were taken into airtight plastic bottles and they were stored in a refrigerator on 4°C until processing.

Field measurements were also performed. In the case of all three streams the water flow was measured at one time, after the melting of the snow: the time of the filling with water of a known volume vessel was measured. Three replicates were carried out and the resulting data were averaged. In the field, water temperature, conductivity, pH, dissolved oxygen content and water flow were determined. The water temperature was measured by hand-held instruments Adwa AD32 and Adwa AD14, the values were averaged. Determining of the conductivity was used by hand-held instruments type Adwa AD32. The pH level was measured by Adwa AD14. Determining the oxygen saturation of streams was determined as well by using test set Visocolor® dissolved oxygen SA10 [6].

The laboratory exercises were completed at Corvinus University of Budapest, Faculty of Horticultural Science, Department of Soil Science and Water Management. In order to compare the results, the water temperature, conductivity, pH and salinity were measured in the laboratory by using device Mettler-Toledo as well. Laboratory analysis also included the nitrate-, nitrite-, ammonium-content were determined as well. Because of high suspended solid content the samples were filtered by filter paper (0.45 µm) and were homogenized directly before the measurements [4, 6, 9, 12].

The nitrate-content was measured by test set Visocolor[circleR] ECO and device Photometer PF12. Determining of nitrite- and ammonium content was used by spectrophotometer SP830 [7, 12]. Statistical analysis was carried out by correlation analysis using SPSS 20 software [14].

The water classification based on Hungarian standard (MSZ 12749-1993). This standard is in harmony with EU Water Frame Directive. There are 5 category of water quality in this standard. The best quality is the 1st class, the worst category is the 5th class.

4. Results and discussions

It can be established from the results concerning the brook of Keseru that, during the analysed experimental period, the pH was class I, the conductivity was almost over class V and the dissolved oxygen content belonged to class III. The water is very hard which can be explained fromthe geological origins of the area. The high salt content hasgeo-logical origins and signals anthropogenic effects. The anthropogenic effects are showed by the changes of nutrient (ammonium-N, nitrite-N and nitrate-N) contents (Table 2).

Table 2.

Brook of Keseru’s water quality results.

I. quarter (n = 8)
Parameters1. point2. point3. point4. point5. point6. point7. point8. pointAverageSD
pH6.86.76.76.76.76.86.86.86.7 (I.)0.04
(µs/cm)84236803690370021102360152315622433 (V.)1060
dissolved oxygen (mg/dm3)1.406.004.208.006.605.287.349.206.00 (III.)0.54
NH4+–N (mg/dm3)1.90.71.4<0.50.60.71.30.50.95 (III.)0.22
NO−2–N (mg/dm3)0.040.190.130.200.100.181.020.740.325 (IV.)0.06
NO−3–N (mg/dm3)621782520282717.75 (II.)5.25
II. quarter(n = 8)
pH7.86.57.68.07.68.59.17.27.79 (I.)2.49
(µs/cm)605712186914151528101084410941135 (IV.)412
dissolved oxygen (mg/dm3)6.969.074.486.282.502.9711.012.945.78 (III.)1.25
NH4+–N (mg/dm3)<0.5<0.50.90.53.42.5<0.511.23 (V.)0.36
NO−2–N (mg/dm3)0.010.100.050.010.020.780.420.120.19 (III.)0,08
NO−3–N (mg/dm3)1.41.81.64.71.38.65.72.63.46 (I.)1.02
III. quarter(n = 8)
pH7.37.97.67.57.57.97.87.67.53 (I.)0.2
(µs/cm)61835903980348019412060146113872314 (V.)345
dissolved oxygen (mg/dm3)0.124.625.584.774.064.384.404.424.04 (III.)1.41
NH4+–N (mg/dm3)0.840.440.310.240.350.404.691.581.11 (III.)0.19
NO−2–N (mg/dm3)0.420.410.050.060.060.121.351.010.44 (IV.)0.09
NO−3–N (mg/dm3)1.71.61.51.17.45.66.75.53.89 (II.)1.08
IV. quarter(n = 8)
pH7.57.87.67.78.07.57.87.97.73 (I.)1.15
(µs/cm)208027203040330033004030355032703161 (V.)425
dissolved oxygen (mg/dm3)5.343.103.256.014.364.765.435.754.75 (III.)0.72
NH4+–N (mg/dm3)0.10.10.10.10.20.10.20.40.2 (I.)0.05
NO−2–N (mg/dm3)0.280.140.130.110.120.160.130.210.16 (II.)0.03
NO−3–N (mg/dm3)353322212118202625 (III.)5.2

Note: numbers in parentheses after the averages indicate the water quality’s class

The results of nitrogen content suggest that the ammonification and subsequent nitrification took place during the analysed periods,i.e. readily biodegradable organic nitrogen source was available which can be explained by poorly designed sewage systems. During just one period (IV. quarter) the nitrate-N concentration increased significantly,which can be explained by the application of fertilizer at the beginning of 2013.

According to the statistic results based on SPSS, strong significant relationships were detected between salinity and conductivity (R = 1.000, p < 0.01), salinity and chlo-ride ion concentration (R = 0.837, p < 0.01), and salinity and sulphate ion concentration (R = 0.679, p < 0.01). No significant relationship was found between the salinity and phosphate ion concentration (R = 0.039, p > 0.5). It can be established that among all anion components of the salt content the sulphate and chloride ions play a significant role.

According to the results from the stream of Hosszureti, similar conclusions as the brook of Keseru were reached. However, in some cases the most polluted water quality was observed for the nitrogen component (Table 3).

Table 3.

Stream of Hosszureti’s water quality results.

I. quarter (n = 8)
Parameters1. point2. point3. point4. point5. point6. point7. point8. pointAverageSD
pH7.147.147.177.117.107.097.107.107,12 (I.)0,03
(µs/cm)126612431243149915231514141112451368 (IV.)259
dissolved oxygen (mg/dm3)5.95.24.75.74.85.04.05.15.1 (III.)1.2
NH4+–N (mg/dm3)161515101022181415 (V.)2.3
NO−2–N (mg/dm3)1.321.321.241.481.441.681.321.481.41 (V.)0.39
NO−3–N (mg/dm3)333330384650413038 (III.)9.1
II. quarter (n = 8)
pH8.037.608.388.038.307.687.728.278.00 (II.)0.29
(µs/cm)140414251430132913231310125014451365 (IV.)118
dissolved oxygen (mg/dm3)6.376.289.936.018.584.684.185.286.41 (III.)1.86
NH4+–N (mg/dm3)1.31.31.62.11.40.60.81.21.3 (IV.)0.2
NO−2–N (mg/dm3)0.520.400.320.440.040.320.440.240.34 (III.)0.11
NO−3–N (mg/dm3)11.911.29.311.93.210.713.29.110.1 (II.)3.3
III. quarter (n = 8)
pH7.177.687.787.787.627.667.707.837.65 (I.)1.8
(µs/cm)157515861587157115591537141915781552 (IV.)456
dissolved oxygen (mg/dm3)2.943.293.303.611.223.022.323.772.93 (IV.)0.89
NH4+–N (mg/dm3)1.102.146.676.4214.083.712.374.525.13 (V.)1.96
NO−2–N (mg/dm3)0.370.931.011.181.881.180.580.931.01 (V.)0.09
NO−3–N (mg/dm3)212643596956455146 (IV.)8
IV. quarter (n = 8)
pH7.787.857.827.787.787.787.747.877.80 (I.)2.06
(µs/cm)206020702100210021002020198120702063 (V.)367
dissolved oxygen (mg/dm3)3.273.953.554.043.973.913.803.553.76 (IV.)1.22
NH4+–N (mg/dm3)4.24.04.52.43.03.82.83.43.5 (V.)0.8
NO−2–N (mg/dm3)1.001.360.941.171.061.441.421.171.19 (III.)0.34
NO−3–N (mg/dm3)342832312928274231 (III.)8

Note: numbers in parentheses after the averages indicate the water quality’s class

During the experimental periods the pH was class I except in one period. Based on the conductivity (total salt content) this stream is classifiedas polluted and heavily polluted. Significantly higher ammonium-nitrogen concentrations were observed at brook of Keseru. These can be explained by contamination of organic origin, poorly designed sewer systems and increased usage of fertilizers containing ammonium. Ammonification and slower nitrification take place as well, which is evidenced by increased nitrite-N and lower dissolved oxygen concentrations. The water is very hard based on total hardness measurements, which comes from geological origin.

The correlation analyses were performed in this case as well. Strong, significant relationships were shown between salinity and conductivity (R = 0.999, p < 0.01), salinity and chloride ion (R = 0.652, p < 0.01) and salinity and sulphate concentration (R = 0.775, p < 0.01) for this stream as well. According to the results, it can be established, that the chloride and sulphate ions have a prominent role in the (total) anion content of the water. The phosphate’s correlation data is significantly different (R = −0.323, p < 0.05) compared to the brook of Keseru’s result. The measured concentrations are also higher, so the presence of phosphate may increase the trophic degree, which can influence the water quality with a further decrease in dissolved oxygen concentration. The increasing phosphate concentration can be explained by agricultural activities of small gardens and lack of sewer systems.

The stream of Aranyhegyi’s results can be seen on Table 4. The pH showed similar trends as the stream of Hosszureti (class I), except in one class (class II). No differences were observed in case of the total salt content, which can be classified in polluted water quality class in the same way as the stream of Hosszureti. The penetration of organic nitrogen forms into the water can be observed in a lesser degree, where the ammonification results in high ammonium-N concentration. The nitrification takes place in the water, supported by nitrite-N concentrations as well. It can be concluded that the nitrite-N content is less compared to the other two streams. In particular, that the fertilizer containing ammonium can be a major source at this stream. It is noticeable that during each experimental period high dissolved oxygen content was measured, which is characterized by relatively good condition of the stream.

Table 4.

Stream of Aranyhegyi’s waterqualityresults.

I. quarter (n = 8)
Parameters1. point2. point3. point4. point5. point6. point7. point8. pointAverageSD
pH7.927.977.777.987.827.838.138.167.94 (I.)0.14
(µs/cm)139014081235140113371371257013951499 (IV.)405
dissolved oxygen (mg/dm3)86.982.30NDA85.80NDA93.6NDA91.288.17 (I.)4.04
NH4+–N (mg/dm3)2.312.152.062.495.523.26.862.663.45 (V.)1.68
NO−2–N (mg/dm3)0.100.120.050.120.260.131.420.170.28 (III.)0.43
NO−3–N (mg/dm3)4.744.979.944.7414.234.9718.064.067.78 (II.)5.15
II. quarter (n = 8)
pH8.118.198.138.028.178.178.178.238.15 (I.)1.9
(µs/cm)126514061326141021601426144414391485 (IV.)236
dissolved oxygen (mg/dm3)76.5679.4288.4089.1489.7283.3386.9677.6384.52 (I.)11.96
NH4+–N (mg/dm3)2.552.562.552.562.552.572.562.582.56 (V.)0.82
NO−2–N (mg/dm3)0.120.360.190.380.490.280.240.430.31 (III.)0.08
NO−3–N (mg/dm3)10.167.0016.037.6814.2312.2213.3214.2311.86 (II.)3.42
III. quarter (n = 8)
pH7.798.017.707.797.727.947.757.877.82 (II.)1.31
(µs/cm)126913531690155514781378140012811426 (IV.)482
dissolved oxygen (mg/dm3)75.1696.1577.3172.6528.2177.5881.0071.5080.49 (I.)13.63
NH4+–N (mg/dm3)1.461.491.442.874.353.814.992.822.90 (IV.)0.96
NO−2–N (mg/dm3)0.040.030.180.250.190.210.350.070.17 (III.)0.02
NO−3–N (mg/dm3)NDANDANDANDANDANDANDANDANDANDA
IV. quarter (n = 8)
pH7.657.957.637.767.637.917.707.877.76 (I.)2.08
(µs/cm)126513471759172815891505148112421490 (IV.)199
dissolved oxygen (mg/dm3)68.5288.4067.4844.4029.2077.6375.8850.8662.80 (I.)9.16
NH4+–N (mg/dm3)1.171.251.110.973.065.363.491.412.23 (IV.)0.43
NO−2–N (mg/dm3)0.040.040.420.380.300.340.550.040.27 (IV.)0.06
NO−3–N (mg/dm3)NDANDANDANDANDANDANDANDANDANDA

Note: numbers in parentheses after the averages indicate the water quality’s class

Based on the correlation analysis it can be concluded that the total salt content has significant positive relationships with nitrate-N (R = 0.454, p < 0.05), nitrite-N (R = 0.764, p < 0.01, ammonium-N (R = 0.281, p < 0.05) and chloride concentration (R = 0.941, p < 0.01). According to these correlations it can be established that nitrate, nitrite and chloride anions are significant components in determination of salt concentration. In the case of phosphate no significant correlation was found (R = −0.092, p > 0.5). A strong correlation continues to be detected between salinity and conductivity (R = 0.999, p < 0.01).

Based on the comparison of the three streams of water quality data it was established that the pH was predominantly class I. There is high salt concentration in these waters, which shows clearly anthropogenic (e.g. fertilization) effects. The average results were classified into polluted (IV) and heavily polluted (V) categories. In the case of dissolved oxygen concentration outstanding position (class I) was observed at stream of Aranyhegyi, where presumably less organic pollution reaches the stream. Based on the nutrient balance indicators it can be said that the ammonification and the nitrification processes with some differences are significant in all streams. The lowest phosphate concentration was measured in stream of Aranyhegyi. It also confirms that this stream’s water quality is the best between the three streams (according to the classification, in seven cases the measured parameters are class I). Correlation analyses were performed in analysing of the three streams. Strong, significant relationships were found between salinity and conductivity (R = 1.000, p < 0.01), salinity and chloride ion (R = 0.821, p < 0.01) and salinity and sulphate (R = 0.761, p < 0.01). No significant correlation was shown between salinity and phosphate concentration (R = 0.137, p > 0.05). It can be concluded that the dominant components in development of total salt content are the chloride and sulphate ions. In our correlation study a strong, significant correlation was found between total hardness and sodium concentration (R = 0.481, p < 0.01), i.e. the calcium, magnesium and sodium ions are significant as well. It can be explained by the geological origins of the area.

5. Summary

In our study three streams were presented from a typical metropolitan area. Although the hydrological characteristics of the streams were very similar, some differences were found in the land usage near them. However, the recent contamination of the streams was considered to be almost the same and in some cases the water quality indicators of stream of Aranyhegyi are the most favourable (e.g. in the case of dissolved oxygen the water quality was class I according to MSZ 12749). All three streams were loaded with nutrients (especially nitrogen components), and this shows anthropogenic effects. In our opinion, these con taminations have two different sources: in many cases, the agricultural activities (fertilizer) of small gardens directly next to the streams and poorly designed or lack of sewer systems. Due to the nitrogen loading which flows into the water and influences the water quality adversely, it is especially important to develop the appropriate fertilizer use in small gardens or the sewer systems and to eliminate the illegal discharges. Further, target water quality analyses require determining the possible pollution sources and measuring the components more accurately (heavy metals and TOC).

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Received: 2014-7-13
Accepted: 2015-10-17
Published Online: 2016-2-29
Published in Print: 2016-2-1

© 2016 Z. Angyal et al., published by De Gruyter Open.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License.

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