Sage's Watershed Blog Page

Water Temperature, Turbidity, and Fecal Coliform 
May 30, 2017

This week, we discovered water temperature, turbidity, and fecal coliform. We learned that cool waters can dissolve more oxygen than warm waters, so the cool waters are usually the more healthy ones. Sometimes photosynthesis can be a good thing in water because it adds more DO, But if the plants grow too much, they can die, causing the decomposing bacteria to use up the DO. We also learned that some organisms can survive in very warm or cool water, while others can not. If there is a drastic change in temperature, the water temperature can change which can either cause the fish to die, or move to a different place. For example, imagine if someone that lived in Florida came to Alaska. Most of the people in Alaska would be used to the cold temperatures, while the person that lived in Florida is used to warm temperatures. So, the person that lives in Florida would not be used to the temperatures and probably would feel very cold.

Scientists can figure out the quality of water by measuring the temperature in different parts of the body of water. First they measure the temperature in one spot, then they move to a different part in the water and see the difference. If the difference is very large, it is not a good sign. The change in water temperature caused by humans is called thermal pollution. One source of thermal pollution is in industries.

Another way temperatures can rise in water is if it is turbid. Turbidity is how murky the water is. When the water is murky, it is usually unhealthy because turbid water absorbs sunlight, causing the water to rise in temperature. One way water can become turbid is the water creatures that stay at the bottom. They can shake up the dirt, and make it turbid. Most turbid water is caused by erosion.

The last source of pollution is fecal coliform. Fecal coliform is a type of bacteria inside animal or human waste, and is very unhealthy for water, so it is measured to determine how healthy water is. Fecal coliform and other bacteria is mostly introduced to the water through sewage discharge.

Humans have a very large role in protecting water. All of the pollution is caused by them, so it is their job to clean it back up. Most people don’t know or learn about water quality and helping the environment grow into a stronger one, so they don’t do anything to help. It is very important to help protect your local watershed and make the right choices.
Water Filters
This week we finally got back into science. We tested three different types of water filters: sand and gravel, paper filters, and a screen. Mrs. Gagner had three different types of contaminated water. In the first bottle, there was loose tea mixed with normal water. In the second bottle there was a small bit of cornstarch mixed with normal water. And finally, in the last bottle there was dirt mixed with water. Our group got the loose tea mixed with water. The filter was a 2 liter soda bottle with the bottom cut off. We then hammered a hole in the cap and taped it to the leg of a chair upside down. We placed a bin underneath the cap so there would be no spillage. Then we took a cup that was labeled “Sand and Gravel” and put it in the bin, directly under the cap. After that, we poured the sand and gravel into the soda bottle taped to the chair. We then poured our contaminated water in and it filtered out all of the particles. After that we used the paper filter, then the screen. The screen did not work at all, and the paper filter didn’t work well, but it took out some of the particles. All in all, the sand and gravel was the most effective.

Duckweed Procedure 

This week we planted our duckweed and made a prediction. Duckweed is a very small aquatic plant that usually grows in lakes or ponds. It has tiny leaves on the top of the plant that are called fronds. We are going to keep track of the amount of fronds there are so we can tell how much the plant has grown over time.

Before we started the activity, we made a prediction on how we think the fertilizer will affect the duckweed. My prediction was that if you add just enough fertilizer the duckweed will grow better than it did without fertilizer. But if you add too much it could make the duckweed unhealthy, and possibly die.We did the experiment in our table groups. My table group was a group of 4. Each group had a different size test tube. We had 5ml ones. The first step of planting the duckweed was pouring 100 ml of distilled water into our four test tubes equally. After that, we added 2 drops of concentration (fertilizer). Then, finally, we added the duckweed and recorded how many fronds the plant had. That was our procedure of planting duckweed.
Learning About Phosphorus

This week our class is learning about phosphorus in water. Phosphorus is a chemical that is used in matches, and is one of the main three nutrients in most fertilizers.

Phosphorus is most commonly found in the earth and makes its way into lakes, ponds and other bodies of water by flowing in the runoff water. Some of the phosphorus in Vermont lakes comes from nearby woods. The phosphorus becomes a kind of fertilizer for the aquatic plants and plants around the water. Phosphorus sources can travel to different watersheds and become a source to that watershed’s water.

What our class is going to do to discover phosphorus and how it affects water is we are going to do an experiment with growing duckweed. Mrs. LaRiviere ordered some fertilizer and distilled water for the aquatic plants to grow our duckweed.

Distilled water (also called steam-distilled water) is water that was put through a heating and evaporation process to remove things like bacteria, parasites, viruses and many other things. Once the water is put through that process you have pure, clean water.

Before we started growing the duckweed we had to make a prediction on how fertilizer affects the duckweed. I predicted that if you add the right amount and the right fertilizer, it could help, but if you add too much, it will be unhealthy for the plant.
Two weeks ago we did an experiment for our environmental science study. What the experiment proved was the level of oxygen in a body of water. We took samples from Cedar Lake (Monkton Pond) and our class fish tank. Our class and Mrs. Pierpont’s class all met in the gym to do the experiment. At first the water looked like normal, clear healthy water. The first thing we did was right down estimates on if we think the water will be healthy or not, I estimated that the water would be very unhealthy. The next thing we did was add a chemical called Iodide Azide which made the water a rusty color and there was a brownish substance resembling algae floating around in both water samples. Once the water settled and looked more like a transparent but solid color, we added another chemical called Manganese Sulfate and not much happened to the water and it stayed the same orange-brown color. After that we added small drops of Sodium Thiosulfate until the water became clear. Each drop the teachers added the water began to slowly turn back to clear starting at the bottom of the container and slowly rising up. We counted how many drops we had to add for the water to turn back to clear. The amount of drops determines if the water is healthy or not. If there is less drops it means the water is healthy. We ended up with negative results. We discovered that very few species can survive in Cedar Lake. Looks like my estimations were correct!

The Ocean - The World’s Largest Watershed

Last weekend I drove around the ocean and discovered the environment. I noticed a few sources of pollution. The first one I noticed was a construction site nearby the ocean.

One way that this can pollute is the big machines they use to dig into the ground and carry equipment and materials run on a lot of gas which spills out and flows into the ocean and pollutes.

The second source of pollution I saw when we arrived at the oceanside was a plastic bag on the jeti.

It was crumpled up and looked like it had been there for awhile.

The third source of pollution I saw was a beer can floating aside the jeti. My mom and I picked it up and threw it away so it would no longer pollute.

The fourth source of pollution we saw was a motor boat moving across the water. A way that can pollute is that it runs on a motor and when you have a motor you need gas to power the motor and gas is unhealthy for the environment.

One human activity I saw water interacting with land is I saw a sailboat on the water.

One interesting thing i noticed when I was at the ocean was that there was a man-made stone wall near along about half of the ocean shore. My mom told me that the wall was put there to reduce erosion and so the town doesn’t flood.

When I was in Massachusetts, It rained three times. The first time it rained it was the normal rain you would see, the second time it rained hard, and the third time it went from mild rain to normal amount.

Water Pollution

This week in science I learned that there are two types of pollution: point source and nonpoint source pollution. Point source pollution is when you can see the pollution happening. Nonpoint source pollution is when you don’t know who or what caused the pollution.

One activity that my class did was we looked at two pictures. The land type for the first picture was agricultural and the second land type was commercial. What we did was looked at the pictures and found all the sources of pollution. Some examples for pollution sources are oil spills, litter, drain dumping, and many others. One question that one of my classmates Owen said was: How can we live the life we live now without polluting the world? I think that was a very good question and I think it will come up in the future. I never really thought about how important water quality is and learning about it has influenced what I think about the world's health.

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