Module Identifier WS20410  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Bill Perkins  
Semester Semester 2  
Other staff Dr Nicholas J G Pearce, Dr Bill Perkins  
Course delivery Lecture   10 Hours 10 x 1 hr lectures  
  Practical   20 Hours 10 x 2 hr practicals  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours Written Examination. Combination of short answer and essay questions50%
Semester Assessment Coursework. 10 continuously assessed practical exercises  50%
Supplementary Exam2 Hours Written examination  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission of failed elements of coursework  50%

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module students should be able to:

Brief description

A module to introduce the chemistry of natural waters. The module will consider the physical chemistry of the water molecule, variations in the chemistry of natural waters from the range of 'reservoirs' on the Earth. Topics covered will include the controls on element mobility such as solubility, hydrolysis, Eh/pH and the role of colloids. The module will introduce water quality standards for human consumption. A range of practicals will cover topics to include: the standard methods of displaying water chemistry data; calculation of mass and charge balance; solubility and solubility product. There will be two analytical practicals to introduce methods of analysis for determination of the inorganic chemistry of natural waters.


This module aims to provide core knowledge about the chemistry of natural waters. To achieve this aim the module will explain the physical chemistry of the water molecule, the role of acids and bases and measures of acidity and alkalinity. The module aims to explain the natural variability of isotopic composition of waters. The module aims to explain the controls on solubility, hydrolysis and the range of composition of water in each of the major 'reservoirs' of natural water. The module aims to provide the students with knowledge of the role of solutes, colloids and suspended matter in controlling the mobility of elements in natural waters. The module aims to introduce element speciation, the application of Eh/pH diagrams and computer codes in water chemistry. The module aims to make students aware of the different measures of water quality for human consumption. The module will have a practical component which aims to introduce students to a range of practical and calculation exercises. These exercises aim to provide the student with experience of handling water chemistry data (e.g. calculation of solubility, mass balance and charge balance and displaying water chemistry data using 'standard' graphical presentation). There will also be practical exercises on the measurement of key parameters in water chemistry.

Reading Lists

** Reference Text
Bradbury, I., Boyle, J. and Morse, A (2002) Scientific principles for physical geographers Prentice Hall/Pearson Education Ltd, Harlow
Drever, J.I (1997) The geochemistry of natural waters 3rd. Prentice Hall, New Jersey
Gray, N.F (1994) Drinking water quality: problems and solutions John Wiley and Sons Ltd., Chichester


This module is at CQFW Level 5