Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Physio-chemical Parameters pH and Nitrate in Mad River Basin

Geology+Water Quality
~Water quality relates to geology/nature because it is the one of the main sources of life. Without water that is good quality( not being polluted), living organisms would not be able to live. Poor water quality can contain high levels of nitrate, pH, or nitrogen causing marine life not to be able to sustain these levels. It does so by increasing the growth of plants which put too much oxygen into the water. 
Water quality is also very important for humans. If there is poor water quality it can cause health problems such as E.Coli because of the bacteria.This can cause illnesses and even death if the quality is poor enough.(source:http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/pdfs/wqfaq.pdf) 

What is Nitrate?
~ A salt or ester of nitric acid, containing the group NO3. Nitrates dissolve extremely easily in water and are an important component of the nitrogen cycle. it is important for streams and their aquatic life because plants use it to build protein, though concentrations over 10mg/L will have an effect causing the organisms to die off. ( www.dictionary.com)

What is pH?
~ A measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution, numerically equal to 7 for neutral solutions, increasing with increasing alkalinity and decreasing with increasing acidity. The pH scale commonly in use ranges from 0 to 14. It is important to streams and their aquatic life because it determine the largest variety of freshwater organisms. These organism prefer pH levels between 6.5-8.00. (www.dictionary.com)
~ The U.S Environmental Protection Agency did studies of the Mad River for Water Quality in order to determine if it was safe for recreational use. ( source: http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/northcoast/water_issues/programs/tmdls/mad_river/pdf/Mad-TMDL-122107-signed.pdf).

~ Data plotted for 1 Year of pH levels and Nitrate levels and their trends:

** Please note click on graphs to view bigger**
Through these graphs have a lack of trend and also a lack of seasonal pattern this is because it all changes and factors such as temperature can change these levels.

By: Emilie Naccarato and Shirley:)


  1. You can see that whether you are looking at one year or several the trends for pH and nitrate are not seasonal. Nitrate concentrations may become elevated during larger storms when Combined Sewage Overflows drain or from agricultural runoff containing N-bearing fertilizers. pH may decrease during storms by acidic runoff (rain being more acidic than the Mad River). Therefore, you might see more trends between pH and discharge (or the volume of water flowing per second) than pH and date.

  2. One more quick note, too much oxygen is usually not the problem. Fertilizer does create algal blooms which do release oxygen. The water loses oxygen when the blooms die and decay and that is what is problematic.