To address challenges of emerging pollution (which include among others; oil and gas pollution, discharge of active residual pharmaceutical compounds, increased industrial wastewater, algal toxins etc), the National Water Quality Reference Laboratory acquired state of the art equipment. These are;

•             Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometer (ICP-OES) for analysis of toxic metals in both drinking and wastewater.

•             Ion Chromatograph (IC) for analysis of nutrient parameters in water samples

•             Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer (GC/MS)

•             Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatograph (UHPLC)

•             Liquid Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer (LC/MS)

•             Gallery Plus for nutrient analysis for the study of eutrophication

•             Hazardous Air Pollutants on Site (HAPSITE) used for monitoring oil and gas waste in Lake Albert using telemetry (remote sensing)

The Oil and Gas monitoring system comprises three individual components that include; the fixed stations based in Pakwach and Kingfisher-Hoima, Mobile station and the command and control center.


The fixed station basically comprises of a Continuous Monitoring System (CMS 5000) which is a Gas chromatograph for identification of Volatile Organic compounds (VOC’S), and a Remote controller.

Volatile organic compound include chlorinated solvents and fuel components.  The most common VOCs that are found in drinking water are chlorinated solvents and fuel components.

Chlorinated solvents: These are widely used in industry and in common household products. These chemicals are or have been used as degreasing fluids for many different purposes such as dry-cleaning clothes, de-caffeinating coffee, cleaning metal machinery, and dissolving grease build up in septic tanks.  Some chlorinated solvents are found in such household products as spot removers, typing correction fluids, adhesives, automotive cleaners, inks, and wood furniture cleaners.  Vinyl chloride is used to make plastic materials, such as vinyl and plastic wrap, and water pipes.

Fuel components: These are chemicals that are found in products such as gasoline, kerosene, and heating oil.  For example, methyl tert- butyl ether (MTBE) is added to gasoline as an octane-booster and as an “oxygenator” (or “oxy- fuel”) to reduce carbon monoxide emissions. Benzene, toluene, and xylenes (or BTX) have been used as solvents in the workplace and are components of some household products, such as glues, paints, and cleaners.  Benzene is found in cigarette smoke and car exhaust. MTBE is also used as a laboratory chemical and in medicine to remove gallstones.

This equipment at the fixed station quantifies target compounds in water and air. The two sites were fully installed and the communications to the Command centre tested.



The Department operates a National network of 119 water quality monitoring stations which

cover surface water (Lakes and rivers), ground water and pollution impact (wastewater). The monitoring functions have however been decongested into the four Water Management Zones for easy management at catchment level. The National monitoring network is under review after 3 years of operation of the WMZs to water resources management better

The Department updated its database to web-based National Water Quality Database where data on samples from the various monitoring stations and data from other stakeholders generated in the different Laboratories are entered, processed and archived. The web-based database links with the Water Management Zones and has the mobile application for real-time data capture.

The oil and Gas equipment include MOBILE STATION for rapid deployment in cases of pollution emergencies. This Comprises of the HAPSITE ER (hazardous air pollutants on site) which is a Gas chromatograph mass spectrometer (GC/MS) for qualifying and quantifying of Volatile organic compounds in the environment. This has accessories for Air (gas probe), Water (Situ probe and Head space Unit) and Soil monitoring (head space unit).This equipment can also be remotely controlled from the command centre.

CMS 5000 HAPSITE ER Mobile station


This has two computers which are used to remotely monitor and control the two fixed stations, and the mobile station. The Equipment are continuously monitored and operated from this centre. A plan to operationalize the monitoring system is in place.