OPAL Metals Survey (now closed)

Has your local lake suffered from metal pollution?

What is metal pollution?

Lake District

Metals are natural elements present in all biological organisms and environments but usually at levels that do no harm. In fact some metals, such as copper and zinc, are essential to the health of living things. However, too much or too little can have damaging effects.

Other metals, such as mercury, cadmium and lead, are not essential. For these metals, each organism has a tolerance level. Exceeding this level can damage growth and development, and very high concentrations can cause death.

In the water, the damaging effects of metals are mostly seen at the top of the food chain, in fish such as pike and in fish-eating birds such as ospreys. This is because metals build up as they pass through the food chain – a process called bioaccumulation.

What we've discovered

The OPAL Water Centre asked you to collect sediment samples from your local lakes and ponds and send them in for analysis. Take a look at our metal concentration maps, find your local lake and pond, and see what your results have shown.

OPAL Water Survey

Pond skaterHow healthy is your local lake or pond? Identify the invertebrates that live there to find out.

Get involved

Pond dippingWant to learn more about ponds and lakes and the wildlife they support? Try these organisations.

Image credits: Wast Water by Ennor via Flickr. Some rights reserved.