Siena's Watershed Blog Page

Temperature, Turbidity, and Fecal Coliform

The trend I observed on how temperature affects the amount of dissolved oxygen (DO) is when the water temperature rises, photosynthesis levels increase. This can be a good thing until a certain point. If levels increase too much, there will be too much plant growth. They will take up lots of space and some will die. When plants die, they use up lots of DO, causing an unbalanced ecosystem.

Plant growth can increase the amount of DO in the water, but can also decrease the amount of DO. When the temperature rises, photosynthesis levels increase. This causes the amount of plant growth to rise. It will add DO to the water. However, plant growth can raise to much. The plants will eventually die. When plants die, they suck up lots of DO, causing the ecosystem to be unbalanced.

Changes in temperature affects not only the plants, but the animals such as fish. Most fish have a range of water temperature that they can thrive in. If the temperature rises all the cold water fish either have to leave or die. Then the warm water fish will thrive and take over.

Thermal pollution is when the temperature of a body of water either increases or decreases. This causes some animals to die and some to strive depending on their needs. If the temperature increases, even just a little bit, it can make an unbalanced ecosystem. It also will make the cooled water fish more prone to diseases and more difficult for them to react to pollution.

Scientists test the temperature of the water by measuring the temperature of the body of water at its source. Next, they move to a different point and take a second measurement. If the difference in the temperature is large, then there is a problem. Here is the data with healthy water changes. If the change is 0-4 degrees fahrenheit (F) then the water quality is excellent, If the change is 5-9 degrees F then the water quality is good. If the change is 10-18 degrees F then the water quality is fair. If the change is 18 degrees F or higher then the water quality is poor.

It is important to measure the turbidity of water because not as many animals can live in turbid water as can live in clear water. This is because less sunlight can get through turbid water as can get through clear water. The suspended particle with absorb the sunlight, causing the water temperature to increase. Because of this the oxygen levels fall. So if they don't measure the turbidity of water they might end up with a very unbalanced body of water.

A few examples of what cause turbidity are erosion, urban runoff or a large amount of bottom feeders, ( animals that stay near the bottom while eating.) When rocks or material around the river erode or fall into the river, it disturbs the material on the ground where it hits. Urban runoff can carry dirt or other small materials that can end up suspended in the water causing it to get murky or turbid. When a bottom feeder is eating it can disturb the materials on the ground under it.

Fecal coliform is measured to determine the health of a river because even if you eat a very small amount it can make you very sick. Swimming in waters that have high amounts of fecal coliform amounts can raise a person's chance of getting sick. It can enter your body through your nose, skin, cuts, ears, or mouth. This is an important part of water health because if there are really harmful bacteria in the river, it is not very healthy.

Fecal coliform can end up in a river either from runoff or sewage discharge. Here is how runoff can put fecal coliform into a river. When it rains the water will always go to the lowest point, but usually it has to travel over land to get there. When it is traveling downwards, and runs into animal waste it can pick up harmful bacteria. When it gets to a body of water, it can affect the balance of the ecosystem. Here is how sewage discharge can end up in a river. When the sewage companies dump out sewage one way they get rid of it is by spreading it across fields. If it rains right after they dump it, then the runoff can go through those fields and pick up the harmful bacteria in the waste. It will then carry it into the river. If it happens a lot then it can cause serious pollution.

Humans are an important part of all of these pollutions. In temperature, we put warm water in from industries. In turbidity, we add urban runoff to the river/ body of water. In fecal Coliform, we do mostly everything. We add human waste to the fields and we are responsible for the sewage discharge.
Science Filters

I found the experience of making a filter fun and interesting. It was interesting when we lined up all the cups of filtered water and compared them. I thought that it was cool how close all the filtered cups were, even though they were filtered by different filters. I thought it was fun because I like doing experiments where I can be involved.

If I could use anything to make a filter I would use a combination of a bunch of filters. I would use sand and gravel, a strainer type thing, and an ultraviolet light. I would use sand and gravel to get the big particles, like sand and twigs. I would use a strainer like thing to get some of the smaller particles out. Finally, I would use an ultraviolet light to kill the bacteria in the water.

It is more important for the filter to be fast than for the filter to be inexpensive because we use clean water for many things. For example, a few things that we use clean water for are washing machines, showers, and drinking. With all those things combined plus a lot more a single person uses gallons of clean water a day. So if I got a super inexpensive filter that cleaned one gallon of water a day, it would be hard for me to do anything like clean our clothes or take a shower.

Before we did the filter experiment we made predictions. I predicted that the the paper filter and sand and gravel would work well. I predicted that the paper filter would work well because a paper filter has really tiny holes in it, so most of the dirt and particles out of the water. I predicted that the sand would work well because it will also catch the particles in the water even though dirt or sand can pollute the water. I also predicted that the screen would not work well because most particles can go through screen.
How phosphorus affects plant growth

In our class, we are doing an experiment to see how phosphorus effects plants. (duckweed)We read an article about our watershed that shows where the phosphorus in our watershed comes from. It showed that most of the phosphorus that goes into lake champlain comes from farming or agriculture. It puts so much phosphorus in the lake, that it almost puts in half. Logging is also a big problem with putting phosphorus in the water. It puts abouts 17 percent of phosphorus in the lake. When you put phosphorus in the water, it makes the plants grow faster. It can start out as a good thing, but after a while it becomes a problem. Some plants will grow to fast on the phosphorus, that other ones will die. This will put the watershed so it is unbalanced. This goes with our project because we are seeing how much phosphorus is a healthy amount, and if the watershed around us is healthy.
Our Procedure

In our class, we are doing a science experiment to see how phosphorus affects plant growth. The question we are answering is How does fertilizer concentration effect the growth of duckweed? My prediction is that the more phosphorus you add will make the duckweed grow faster until a certain point. This is the procedure I used to check my prediction.

Step 1: get four test tubes. Make sure they are the same size

Step 2: fill each the test tube with 20ml of DISTILLED water

Step 3: Put duckweed into the test tubes. Make sure you have between 7 and 15 fronds. (fronds are the duckweeds’ leaves or petals.)

Step 4: Put in about .5 ml of liquid fertilizer in each test tube.

Step 5: Put the test tubes somewhere where it can stand upright and will not spill. Make sure it is under the sun or under a light. (you can do both!)

Step 6: Check to see how many fronds are in each test tube for five or more days.

Testing our watershed's dissolved oxygen level
In science this week we took 2 samples to test dissolved oxygen levels. One was from Cedar Lake (Monkton Pond), and one was from our guppyƛ tank. We took the sample from Cedar Lake and added iodide-azide. Adding this turned it murky. Next we added manganous sulfate to the Cedar Lake sample and it turned it a rusty color. It also flocked (tuned chunky). While we waited for the Cedar Lake sample to settle, we added iodide-azide to the guppy sample and it turned a yellow-rustyish color. Next we added sulfamic acid to the sample from Cedar lake. This made the sample turn a maple syrup color. After that we added sodium thiosulfate to the sample from Cedar Lake and it took 15 drops to make the water clear. This means that the water in Cedar lake has 3 milligrams per square leader (mg/l). In vermont a healthy amount of dissolved oxygen (DO) per mg/l is 7 mg/l. I can conclude that the water in Cedar lake does not have a healthy amount of DO in it. After we analyzed our data for the Cedar lake sample, we added the sodium thiosulfate to the guppy sample and it took 10 drops to turn clear. This means that the guppy sample has 2mg/l. This means that the guppy water does not have a healthy amount of DO per square foot.

Point and Nonpoint Source Pollution

We were assigned to look around while we were driving and try and see some point and nonpoint pollution and think about how it might pollute the bodies of water around it. Here are some of the ways I saw and how they pollute the watershed around us. The very first thing I saw was a garbage truck. That garbage truck goes around and picks up people’s trash. Then it heads to the landfill, where it dumps the trash and lets it rot for a long time. This is bad because when the groundwater goes into the trash it will pick up dangerous chemicals and bring them to the river. The second thing I saw were sailboats. There are a couple ways they are bad. One way they are bad is they could be leaking oil or gas into the water. Another way they are bad is that they have chemical toilets that they will dump into the water, which is really bad for the water. I saw someone who was putting out lawn fertilizer. The groundwater and runoff will pick up the fertilizer and will carry the fertilizer to the river or other body of water. I also saw fishermen. They can pollute the river by leaving fishing hooks and lines in the lake/river. The last way I am going to tell you about is animal waste. It can have harmful chemicals in it. The rainwater will bring the chemicals into the water. These are just a few ways that land and water interact around us.

How Land And Water Interact

Land and water interact by by trucks, factories and other human activities. The activities pollute the ground then the runoff picks up the chemicals and takes them to the river. This pollutes the river or other body of water. One way land gets polluted is by fertilizer.The fertilizer will eventually get into the runoff and groundwater and pollute the river (overtime) . Another way is drain dumping.if you dump polluted water or any other liquid (that is not non-polluted water) down the rain water drain, then it will go through many underground tubes, eventually the polluted water will come out into a body of water and pollute that body of water. My last way is smokestacks. Smokestacks can put dangerous chemicals into the air. They will fall on the ground. Overtime the runoff will carry the chemicals into a body of water and pollute it. So now that you know some of the ways we pollute land, you can see how we pollute the water to.

#HowWeAffectTheWorld #Siena

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