Nuclear industry code of practice for routine water quality monitoring

Good practice guidance for designing and reviewing routine water quality monitoring programmes at UK Nuclear Licensed Sites.



This document provides good practice guidance for designing and reviewing routine water quality monitoring programmes at UK Nuclear Licensed Sites. For any given site the outcome of using this guidance should be a monitoring programme that is self-consistent and uses modern good practice techniques and arrangements appropriate to that site.

The intended readership is staff of SLCs and their contractors/consultants involved in:

  • the design, implementation and review of routine water quality monitoring programmes

  • the assessment/interpretation of the resulting data

Such staff will have varying knowledge, experience and background.

This document is therefore designed to:

  • provide field technicians and junior/new technical staff with a better understanding of why monitoring is carried out, and of specific issues relevant to water quality monitoring on Nuclear Licensed Sites

  • act as a ‘quick reference guide’ for more experienced technical staff, by summarising key issues and signposting relevant existing guidance

The types of waters dealt with in this document are:

  • groundwater
  • open freshwater bodies
  • ‘in-pipe’ and ‘end of pipe’ surface water drainage
  • inter-tidal surface waters

Excluded are:

  • ‘in-pipe’ or ‘end-of-pipe’ effluents
  • offshore marine/estuarine waters
  • deep lacustrine waters

The focus of the document is on routine (long-term) water quality monitoring. This is defined as “the collection of water quality data and related hydrometric data at regular intervals over time, in accordance with a documented protocol, with defined criteria for assessment of results, such that results that are not in line with expectations can be identified and appropriate actions initiated”. The document is not primarily concerned with water quality sampling as part of site characterisation, which would usually precede the establishment of a routine water quality monitoring programme.

The guidance in this document concentrates on those aspects of routine water quality monitoring specific to nuclear sites and radioactive contaminants. It provides only summary guidance relating to:

  • non-radioactive contaminants (other than those issues specific to nuclear sites)
  • topics common to both radioactive and nonradioactive contamination, such as:
  • sampling point design
  • hydrochemistry
  • relevant hydrometric parameters

It signposts out to other guidance and standards where applicable.