Dividing Stream Water Quality


Collecting Data

I collected water samples from three separate locations along the stream. The first location was closest to the storm water collection pond and its overflow discharge point. The second was at the very opposite end of the streams furthest point before passing under college parkway. The third location was directly under the bridge connecting East and West campus. These locations are labeled on the photo attached.


The variables I was testing for was pH, Salinity, and dissolved oxygen. If I had a better sensor, I could have also tested for other variables such as iron content which appeared to be in large concentrations based on my visual observations while sampling. My goal was to see if the data collected would support the idea that the restoration project from several months ago had a positive impact on the quality of water downstream. This would validate the work done by the crew that added these reservoirs as environmental buffers. This area has been a focal of mine since the beginning of the restoration project.



Keywords: Water Quality, Environmental Buffer, Sustainable Architecture, Storm Water Runoff, Nitrates, Phosphorus, Remote Sensing, Nitrification, Dead Zones

Initial Observation: Test Site One

Water samples collected from location one being closest to the storm water pond discharge visually had lots of micro particles floating in it. The water was cloudy, and the white Styrofoam cup was turned orange in the areas the water had touched. I wasn’t able to see any bugs or small critters in or near the testing site. The vegetation surrounding the water was light green while vegetation in other areas were bright green. The whole area smelled, and it was pretty obvious that the quality of the water was similar to what it was at that location before the restoration project as was expected.



Initial Observation: Test Site Two

After walking nearly 3.5 miles downstream to the second testing site I noticed that the water was much clearer than that of test site one. It didn’t smell nor was it filled with any sediment causing it to be cloudy. At first glance it would appear that the water quality had improved, and that the restoration project was successful in helping clean the water. I was excited to return to the lab and test the water but still had one last site to test.



Initial Observation: Test Site Three

Site three was located directly under the footbridge in the middle of the stream and surprisingly it provided the clearest looking water. It smelled and looked relatively good and appeared to be higher quality than that of the first two testing sites. This brought me to the conclusion that additional contaminants might be entering the water from an unknown location somewhere past the bridge.






Conclusion

The data collected from this experiment did several things for my research of this area on campus. First and foremost, it confirmed my beginning hypothesis, the Diving Creek restoration project successfully increased overall water quality. However, the data also leads me to believe that additional contaminants are entering the water from an unknown source further downstream. This discovery has caused me to look toward using additional tools and software for understanding where these contaminates are coming from so they can be traced back to the source. Using ArcGIS and CAST I was able to draw some interesting conclusions which I will be further investigating to collect data that will support my hypothesis.







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