Disclaimer: This is an example of a student written essay.
Click here for sample essays written by our professional writers.

Any scientific information contained within this essay should not be treated as fact, this content is to be used for educational purposes only and may contain factual inaccuracies or be out of date.

Investigation of Water Quality of the Parramatta River

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Studies
Wordcount: 2653 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

Reference this



The Topic

The biggest concern of the Parramatta River is the pollution. Many parts in the Parramatta River have sewerage systems that tend to overflow during heavy rainfalls, the rainfall water flows off roofs and gutters resulting in the water/sewerage systems. This causes the sewerage system to flood and polluted water rises ending up in the river.


My research aims to investigate the water quality of the Parramatta River and to investigate the source that could be affecting the water quality. To achieve these aims I focused on my objectives of observing the water quality in a small area where the Parramatta River runs through, Ermington.


Prior to this this task I always exercised next to the river and I always observed the murky water and the pungent smell that the river emitted after a rainy day. Sometimes the smell would be noticeable on perfectly nice days, this could’ve been affected due to the pollution or the drainage system next to the river. There was also an eye catching article that discussed about a sewage spill into the river causing many problems across the river.


I hypothesised that due to the murky water, the pungent smells that the river released and the small pollution found near the banks of the river that the river is not be clean and not a place suitable for people to swim in that the council is aiming for, for the future years. I also hypothesised that blockages and poor drainage systems cannot cope with the rain waters that cannot flow through due to pollution.

Focus Questions

To carry out a proper research I formed a few focus questions for my research of the water quality of the Parramatta River, these were:

  1. What is the Parramatta River’s quality meant to be like?
  2. What is the cause of the Parramatta River’s issue?
  3. Is the Parramatta River’s drainage system steady?

Research Methods

Primary Data

I gathered my primary data through observations, taking photos of the Parramatta River and collecting water samples to find the pH levels of the water. I was also able to gain a lot of primary data from my childhood knowledge of the river. To help with this observation I intended to search for the cause of a recent sewage spill to help me understand the maybe cause of the water quality of the Parramatta River but this was not possible due to the given time.

Secondary Data

My secondary data was gathered through thorough research of the structure base of the Parramatta River, its current state and future goals they are striving for currently. I also went to find a range of website and news articles relating to my topic.


Results of my research shows that Parramatta River has surprisingly fairly good water quality. However there are still quite a bit of pollution affecting the river and hopefully further research


The pollution and spillage was quite lower than expected, but through research it still does show that we need to make improvements in order for the swimmable river that the Parramatta council is striving for.


Australian Rivers

Australia river water are in a bit of a strife. Our waste often gets washed into river and coasts of Australia without any treatment. Water quality in Australia is an issue as it has drastic effects on the community. Water quality issues can includes issues such as: salinity, pollution, run off, river and soil degradation, water flow and more

Background Information


Ermington is a suburb located 19 kilometres north-west of the Sydney central business district. It is under the local government area of City of Parramatta, lying on the northern bank of the Parramatta River. Ermington was associated

Fig 1.1 Map of Ermington



The Parramatta River was created in between 15 to 29 million years ago. It was created when an Australian Governor named Phillip regretted his decision to establish the first settlement at Sydney Cove. At that time the area didn’t have the rich soil and the land was filled with barren sandy soil. He began constructing a second settlement, this time planning a more fertile and well-watered ‘head of the harbour’ in the late year of 1788. By 1791 the commencement of river modifications began, modifications of the riverine landscape and the planting of trees and plants all began. During this year there was the grant for ‘free immigrants’ around Homebush Bay’.

Fig 2.1: Parramatta River in the late 1700s




Fig 2.2: Map of the Parramatta River


Primary Research

Primary research into the issue of the water quality and management in Ermington was undertaken through several measures. I took multiple photographs around the area of the Parramatta River in Ermington. I aimed to take the photos when the tide was low and on different days to compare the photos. I also collected water samples of the river in order to conduct the pH level test. Another test was conducted with the water samples, this time I measured the pH levels of other types of water to compare it with the water sample from the Parramatta River.

Fig 3.2: Day 2

Fig 3.1: Day 1

Figure 2.1, 2.2, 2.3 taken on 3 different days. These photos are examples of what it looks like on the bay of the river

Fig 3.3: Day 3


pH Level


Test 1

Date: (17/04/2019)

The pH stick turned into a slight lime green. The pH level was estimated a 6-7. Meaning the river water quality was neutral.

When I first collected the water it was quite murky and there were bits of dirt. I let it sit for a few hours to see that the water was clear and the dirt and soot sank to the bottom. I realised it was just surface run off affecting the quality of the water.

Test 2

Date: (25/04/2019)

The pH stick remained a lime green resulting in a 6-7 pH level. (The same as Test 1)

The second time I collected water from the river the water was very clear. It looked like water we drink every day. When collecting the water, the water was surprisingly a little murky but when I filled the cup from the river it was completely clean.

Test 3

The water collected on this day was after a day of rain. However, this did not change the results of the pH levels. The result remained the same as test 1 and 2.

The water collected on this day was a day after rain. The water was more murky than the second time I went to collect water. I thought this test might result in other pH levels but the tests said otherwise.

Table 1: pH level Test



Figure 4.1: Test 1 Figure 4.2: Test 2 Figure4.3: Test 3

pH Level Tests

You can see from the results that all tests resulted in the same result. A pH level of 6-7 was seen.

Email to the Council

Figure 5.1: Email to the Council

This was an email to the Parramatta Council regarding the issue of my topic, water quality of the Parramatta River. However, unfortunately the council did not respond to the several emails or calls I sent.



pH Level


Bottled Water



Bottled water just resulted in a light green pH level.

Tap Water



Tap water also resulted in a green pH level, keeping the water a neutral level.

Parramatta River

Light Green


It was slightly murky compared to the other test samples.

Table 2: Comparison

Secondary Data

Water Quality

Figures 6.1 and 6.2 are articles talking about future plans to launch new swimming spots in the Parramatta River. These articles talk about what kind of improvements they’re making.

Fig 6.1: New swimming spot article


Fig 6.2: Information regarding the issue

Future Plans

Fig 7.1: Overcoming challenges

Fig 7.2: Future Plans

Fig 10.4 talks about the challenges that they are facing right now when preparing for the swimming spots. In this article they talk about the most problematic issues, this includes:

-         Wet weather overflows from the sower system and stormwater

-         Bacterial contamination

-         Pollution

They hope for the best that the rainwater arrives clean in the river, however if this solution was not to work, suggestions are being put forth to make a stormwater infiltration basins.

Fig 10.5 article describes the many strategies and solutions that are being prepared for at the moment.


Based on the information I have researched and the data collection from my fieldwork investigations. I am able to conclude that water quality of Parramatta River is surprisingly clean, however there are some changes in need for a better and swimmable river that councils are striving for currently. With the support of councils and public members they can help preserve and further improve the quality of the river.



Parramatta River is very long and big passing along many councils and because of this it was hard for me to find free time to go and research other areas to compare my current area with other areas of the river. I was also interested in going to the end of the Parramatta River to observe the area and research about it, however due to limited time it was not able to be done.


Ermington is a very small and peaceful suburb meaning it was not hard to ask and also raise small awareness’s of the current issue we are under in. I learnt a lot about that small geographical issues could have a huge impact in the overall picture from undertaking this fieldwork study. I also learnt how important it was to always keep asking questions and if it was unanswered it was better to go out to find out information on it.



Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on UKEssays.com then please: