2014 Stream Chemistry

by Thomas Baraldi

Today’s activity was analyzing stream chemistry. Stream chemistry allows us to analyse the more specific details about the health of the New Hope Creek River. The different atomic elements in the stream can either hurt or help the health of the creek if they are raised. If the levels of Nitrogen or phosphorous are high, it shows the stream is in poor health. The cause of this raise can be due to different factors such as pollution or weather. Chlorine is an important chemical to monitor because it can prove to be fatal to the wildlife if high enough levels are reached. Dissolved Oxygen also important for us to monitor because it determines the level of oxygen available for the wildlife to intake. These qualities all affect the pH of the stream. All of these elements carry either a positive or negative charge, making them cations and anions, respectively. If there is a substantial increase in concentration for one or several of these elements, the pH will change, possibly endangering the creek’s habitat. We collected the data by performing several reactions, observing precipitates, and sticking the pH strip in the creek.

Here is our data:

Parameter Group 1 Result Group 2 Result Levels Safe for Aquatic Life
pH 7.5 6.7 6.5-9
Dissolved Oxygen 8 mg/L 9 mg/L >5 mg/L
Nitrate 0 0 Less than 22 mg/L
Phosphate 0

 

0 Less than .05 mg/L
Chloride 20 mg/L 20 mg/L Less than .01 mg/L

All of the results prove the stream is chemically healthy except the chloride level. The chloride level was not devastating but it definitely was not perfect. The stream is in healthy condition with the exception of the chloride level. The wildlife could be affected due to this observation but it will not completely eradicate the habitat. It would be best to consistently monitor the Chlorine levels in New Hope Creek.