Maia's Watershed Blog Page

Water Quality Indicators

Photosynthesis can increase at higher temperatures therefore increasing plant growth. When there are a lot of plants and they die, dissolved oxygen will be used up. Also though, photosynthesis adds dissolved oxygen. So temperature can cause increases and decreases in dissolved oxygen.
Increased plant growth can both increase and decrease dissolved oxygen (D.O.) in water. Increased plant growth can decrease the D.O. because when the plants die, (pg. 75) the decomposing plants will use up the D.O. The D.O can increase because photosynthesis, under certain conditions, can raise at higher temperatures. As said on page 75, “photosynthesis adds D.O. to the water.” If there is more photosynthesis than there is more dissolved oxygen.

Changes in temperature in an ecosystem can majorly affect the organisms that live there. Some organisms need colder temperatures to survive and some need the opposite. When the water temperature increases/decreases the organisms may need to leave or they could die. When many organisms start dispersing, it can throw off the balance of the ecosystem. The water temperature needs to fit all the needs to keep the ecosystem balanced.

Thermal Pollution is when, in a body of water, the temperature changes. The temperature change is due to humans. Humans could change the temperature by putting in untreated sewage or waste. Factories also can discharge heated water either purposefully or by accident. Those things can cause the temperature in a body of water to rise, that’s thermal pollution.

Scientists test the temperature in a body of water (usually a stream/river) by finding the temperature of a body of water at it’s source. Once the find that temperature, they go to another location in the same body of water. They then find the temperature in that location, if the temperatures are not the same (give or take two degrees) the there is a problem. The scientists know the problem must be between points A and C for example, so they test B separately and make the water healthier.

Measuring the turbidity of water is very important because if the water is dirty, it can carry bacteria that can cause disease. It’s helpful to test to keep everyone/thing safe. Also suspended particles that cause water to be turbid can increase temperature which can kill organisms. And with organisms dying off, the ecosystem is out of balance.

Water can become turbid when particles like clay, silt etc. get suspended in water causing the water to get murky/opaque.

Fecal Coliform can carry a lot of disease causing bacteria, therefore causing a lot of sickness. Fecal Coliform end up in the river when sewage discharge in not properly treated. Humans can and need to do better jobs at treating sewage and cleaning up bodies of water so they do not become turbid. Also humans need to stop thermal polluting because it upsets the balance in so many ecosystems.
Filtering Polluted Water 5-1-17

While watching our experiment being carried out, it was very interesting to see the water being filtered right in front of us. Especially with our combination, seeing the dirty water go from opaque to transparent showed that our filter idea was working. We all were participating actively and observing every little thing. Having the structured notes was very helpful while writing quickly during the experiment. Without the structured notes, the filter experiment would not have gone as smoothly as it did.

The best filter that we did was our combination. The individual filters inside worked really well together. So I would use a similar order if I could use any materials. I would have the same ideas in mind for order, but I would use different materials. A screen of some sort is really helpful but a smaller holed one would be best like a stainless steel woven wire mesh. I would had a stainless steel woven wire mesh on the top of my bottle to ensure that little to no visible medium or big particles would go through the mesh. After the fine mesh I would use rice and gravel with rice replacing the sand. The rice wouldn’t get carried as easily as sand, and it would filter smaller particles better. Lastly I would use a paper filter, maybe a more durable one, to stop the dirty liquid at the end of the process.

Our best filter, the combination was very quick in building time and was inexpensive if based off of water filter scoring sheet. So going off of that, both time and money were saved, but that is not always the case. If we were to make another one and it were to take a couple years to build that would be fine. If it fixed all of world problems, time being used would be fine if the outcome was good. If no one had money to build it though, then the great filter would go unnoticed after years of work. So overall I think money is just as valuable as time, because things take time, but also money is needed.

Before we did our experiment my group and I hypothesized the outcomes of all the filters. For out first one, the sand and gravel, I predicted that the sand could be carried through. Also that the gravel could stop big particles not small, and the sand would filter the small. I assumed that they would work together great and the only problem would be leftover sand that goes through to the filtered water. I was correct with all of that and I think sand may not be the best choice.

For the screen filter, I predicted that the medium sized holes in the wire, would not stop small particles in the slightest and that the dirty liquids would pass right through. I hypothesized that the only thing the screen would do, would be stopping large particles. The holes in the wire were too big to make a big impact on the water. After doing the experiment, it turned out that our predictions were right and the screen was barely helpful.

Our last individual filter was the paper filter, we predicted that the paper would tear when heavy debris filtered through it. We als0 did not think it could filter any type of debris. The paper filter was suspected by our group to be worst than the screen. Once we had finished, we noticed that the paper had not ripped, which surprised us. The paper filter didn’t change the clarity or take out debris, but it didn’t tear do that was an upside.

This experiment was really informative. I learned a lot about different types of filters and this inquiry was really involved which is something I like a lot. It is really cool to know that I can make a filter that works.
Experiment Procedure 

Our class set up our experiment, using measurements of distilled water, fertilizer and duckweed. Here are the steps:

Have four, 28 milliliter beakers.

Add 20 ml. of distilled water into each test tube.

Add four duckweed plants into each 28 ml. test tube.

Count the fronds on each duckweed plant and record

Add .28 ml. of liquid fertilizer to each 28 ml. test tube.

Phosphorus & 12-6-16
Duckweed Investigation

We are going to do an experiment to see how fertilizer, with a high amount of phosphorus, will affect aquatic plants. Mostly focused on duckweed specifically. Our class will have a duckweed plant and see what different concentrations of fertilizer will to it. Will higher amounts make the aquatic plant grow faster or slower?

In a recent article from the Addison Independent it states that in the Lake Champlain watershed, sixteen percent of phosphorus comes from forest lands. Also in the Otter Creek watershed, about 1 percent more phosphorus comes from forest lands. The AI also says that Agriculture is the largest contributor of phosphorus in the Otter Creek watershed, at forty-nine percent. Other sources of phosphorus consist of stream erosion, parking lots, large athletic fields, and wastewater treatment facilities.

In the AI it states that the “Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Implementation plan requires a 5 percent reduction in phosphorus from forest lands.” Otter Creek has more phosphorus than it should. That proves that phosphorus has bad effects on water too, if reduction is needed. A little phosphorus won't do harm, but if a lot is added, damage can happen to water. Also on the USGS website it says that when too much phosphorus is in water, it can speed up eutrophication. Eutrophication is the reduction of distilled oxygen in large bodies of water. When eutrophication occurs, aquatic life can be harmed. With small amounts of distilled oxygen, only specific organisms can live.

With all of this information, I predict that with a high concentration of phosphorus, the duckweed plant will not grow quickly or as big. The phosphorus in the fertilizer will pollute the water and polluted water will affect the duckweed.

Murphee, G. (2016, November 7). Where phosphorus in lake comes from. Addison Independent. p.23.

U.S. Geological Survey (02-Dec-2016). Phosphorus and Water. Retrived from
Last week we did an experiment to find the oxygen levels in Cedar Lake and in the aquarium in our classroom. We tested the oxygen levels using chemistry to find reactions. We did a dissolved oxygen test. We had two samples; sample A was the pond and sample B was the guppy tank. Before we did the tests I predicted that the pond water would have an unhealthy amount of oxygen, too little. At first the clarity of both were very equal, the comparisons were hard to identify, but the oxygen levels were different. With sample A we first added iodide-azide and the water got quite a bit of flock and cloudiness. The water was still clearer than I had thought it would be though. When the manganous sulfate was added to A, the water turned to a orange yellow color. It got very chunky and really cloudy. After the manganous sulfate had settled for a little bit, the water had a syrup look, it seemed thick and blurry. When the sulfamic acid was added, the water started to turn brown and a lot darker. The flock had cleared and the water was dark but transparent. Then the water got lighter and some more flock when condensed. Finally, we added Sodium-thisulfate to the first sample, after ten drops the water began to clear. After 16 the water was back to original and even clearer. For sample B all steps were repeated the same. The outcome was very similar, but sample B had lighter colors throughout. At the end we figured out that the pond water had 3 mg/l and the tank had 2 mg/l. Cedar lake had more but not even close to healthy enough for drinking. The oxygen levels in both can only support about two types of fish. So overall both settings are not as healthy as they should be.


For a few days, I watched around me and was very aware of my surroundings. I spent some time observing land and water interactions in my community. I took what I already knew to use as a guideline of what to look for. I saw interactions, point and nonpoint source pollutions and more. My prior knowledge and what I have learned this year guided my search; I found some pretty interesting stuff about my effects and my communities effects on the surrounding areas.

As I was driving into a small, but busy city, during a downpour, I noticed a gas station. I saw a puddle of gas filled water pooling on the pavement. I wondered why. As I got closer, I saw garbage clogging the drain. This in my mind has good and bad effects. I can assume that trash had already gone down the drain, and lead into bodies of water. That can and probably will pollute the water. The clogged drain had benefits too though. With nowhere to go, the polluted water in the puddle has no exit. That means that the water won’t reach a body of water, as quickly as if it were through the drain. The water could potentially take a lot of time to reach the destination, there for providing time that the water needs to get filtered or stopped.

Something else I noticed was snow and rain’s effects. The just fallen snow was thin but still thick enough to act as a blanket. I learned that snow insulates plants and seeds from the colder air outside of the snow. The snow is a good land and water interaction for most things. With rain I noticed that it wasn’t so helpful to the environment. I saw my dirt road eroding from the wetness. The heavy rain chipped away the dirt and eroded the top layer. I also noticed people keeping their engines on for long periods of time, just to wait out the rain. The cars, when running, pollute the air in very harmful ways.

I observed some point source pollution and nonpoint source pollution. Point source means that you can identify the singular cause of pollution. For example, if you saw someone dropping a piece of trash, you could point to the source of littering. Nonpoint source is the opposite. If you saw pieces of trash on the ground, you couldn’t say how they ended up there. You can infer, but you can’t point to the source. I realized some point source pollutions my family and I make and many other families. While our wood stove was going, smoke emerged from the chimney and polluted the air. Also I saw trucks reapplying dirt to the road when it was eroded. Loose dirt gets into water easier than if compacted. So after the rain, dirt was in the water, and nearby bodies of water get polluted again.

This is what I learned while observing land and water interactions in my community.

#LandandWaterInteractions #Individual #BlogPost #Observations #Maia

Learned This Year
[Module One]

There are three parts to our big question; How does water quality affect the ecology of a community? The first section that we have been investigating; How do land and water interact in a community?

We did multiple experiments and models to understand this question. For example, during our elevation models we discovered that water pools at the lowest elevations. If we know that, we can then piece together that the location of the pooling and where the water flows to, definitely can impact the health and cleanliness of the surrounding land and water itself.

Also the stream table model gave us some clues, (or should I say answers,) to our sub unit inquiry. Seeing how in our worst case scenario the water carried loose dirt, and oils polluted the groundwater. I can assume that the runoff would have been polluted as well. If I am right than two big sources to a body of water are unhealthy. So I can conclude that water moves materials and deposits them at pooling areas.

Something I have been wondering is how can we change the modern world to stop pollution? Electric cars have been produced same as filters for machines, but water is still paying for it. From a tiny brook to the Pacific, cleanliness is still a problem. We have learned that many people cause them. I learned that factories collect water from bodies of water and then release when chemical filled. The water then flows to the lowest or a lower elevation and pools. When the chemicals, oils and other harming liquids or substances have time to sit still, they clump and affect the water more than if it were fast moving. All this information came from the stream tables and science binders, along with class discussions and prior knowledge.

That is what we have learned so far this year, and I may keep investigating this outside of the unit, to find some solutions to pollution.

#Individual Blog #Learned this year #Investigations #Maia #Solutions to Pollutions

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