Presentation on theme: "Water Monitoring Lab. Why Test Water Quality? Water testing allows scientists and citizens to have a full understanding of what is affecting their stream."— Presentation transcript:
Why Test Water Quality? Water testing allows scientists and citizens to have a full understanding of what is affecting their stream or river and can provide solutions to fixing any problems it may have.
How? If you went to the doctor for a physical exam, the doctor would check out your physical attributes as well as take blood and urine tests to determine your health! Yuk! But anyone can do water testing. It also involves a number of physical observations and simple chemical tests that can help determine the health of the stream.
The pH level tells us how acidic or basic our water is (essentially it tells us the power of Hydrogen Ions- thus the “H”). While fish can tolerate certain levels of acidity, too much acidity can kill them. The pH range is 0 to 14 with 7 being neutral. Thus, pure water has a pH of 7 and is neither acidic or basic. While a range of 6.5 to 8.2 is optimal for most organisms, rapidly growing algae increases the pH. Acid rain can also adversely affect the water’s pH. pH Level:
2: Dissolved Oxygen (most important test! Fish need oxygen. So do many other aquatic organisms such as invertebrates and bacteria. The oxygen they “breathe” is dissolved between the water molecules. Oxygen is also produced by aquatic plants. Different organisms require different amounts of dissolved oxygen. Generally, counts below 3 ppm (parts per million) would be deadly to most aquatic animals.
3: Turbidity Turbidity is the measure of how clear the water is. Turbid water is caused by suspended sediments such as clay, silt, organic and inorganic matter. Turbidity should not be confused with color since darkly colored water can still be clear and not turbid. Turbid water may be the result of erosion, urban run-off, algal blooms, dredging and even boat traffic. Tributary of Goose Creek, May 2013
4: Phosphates Phosphorus is a nutrient that acts as a fertilizer for marine plants. When nutrient levels increase, excessive plant and algae growth creates water quality problems. Phosphorus occurs in water in the form of phosphates (PO 4 ). Over half of the phosphates in lakes, streams, and rivers comes from detergents.
5: Coliform Bacteria Fecal Coliform Bacteria is naturally present in the human digestive tract but is rare in unpolluted waters. Its presence in water serves as an indication of sewage or fecal contamination, most likely from waste water. The presence of coliform bacteria is a strong sign to stay away from contaminated waters.
6: Nitrogen Content Nitrogen is a nutrient that acts as a fertilizer for aquatic plants. When nutrient levels are high, excessive plant and algae growth creates water quality problems. Nitrogen enters the water from human and animal waste, decomposing organic matter, and lawn and crop fertilizer run-off. Nitrogen occurs in water as Nitrate (NO 3 ), Nitrite (NO 2 ) and Ammonia (NH 3 ).
7: Invertebrates Invertebrates (animals without backbones) are a natural and important part of any natural water body. While just the presence of them is positive, with varying degrees of pollution, different species of invertebrates will die. By identifying which species are found, we can accurately determine the overall health of a stream or river.