An evaluation of low-cost testing kits for measuring phosphate in water samples was undertaken as a collaborative MSc project between the Environment Agency and Cranfield University.
Phosphate pollution of water is one of the biggest challenges facing the Environment Agency. Low-cost testing kits could be used by Environment Agency Officers, Catchment Sensitive Farming Officers or those carrying out catchment walkovers to make decisions in the field based on immediate results. They also allow farmers and farm advisors to see for themselves the levels of phosphate in water draining from their land, rather than having to accept the word of a scientist or regulatory body. Farmer-led monitoring, also known as participatory monitoring, should improve the farmers’ understanding of where on a farm phosphate is lost and enable them to modify current farm practices to reduce their contribution to pollution.