Since 1972 the Finnish National Board of Waters has taken an active part in development of the automatic water quality monitoring. Eleven automatic stations liave been used minly for continuous monitoring of river water quality. The parameters used; temperature, pH, conductivity, DO and turbidity, are only the indicators about the change in loading. Automatic monitoring has in several cases revealed previously undetected variations in water quality. Continuous monitoring has produced useful information about the proportional magnitude and durability of variations in water quality. The abundance of data rakes the use of statistical methods possible for determining optimal sampling frequencies. In the near future new parameters can be used for controlling contents and thus also loadings. Then the automatic monitoring should be broadened to waste water treatment plants and to processes of factories. In that case it should be possible already to prevent waste water discharges before the watercourse.

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