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B. Kohlmann, R.O. Russo, J. Itzep and R. Solís
EARTH University, Costs Rica
21st Century Watershed Technology: Improving Water Quality and Environment 21-24 February, 2010, Guácimo, Costa Rica
Abstract. The management of bioindicators of water quality in rural communities emphasizes the importance of enabling organized groups to evaluate the quality of water resources through apprenticeship and execution of sampling methods of macro-invertebrates (biomonitoring), that can be complemented with an evaluation of physical-chemical analysis properties (pH, COD, DBO, T, BOD) of the aquatic environment. This study seeks to address children's participation in environmental issues, and explores a new tool for evaluating water quality. With the participation of school children of Las Mercedes School and students of Guácimo High School, samples were taken using the biomonitoring BMWP’ -CR (Biological Monitoring Working Party, modified for Costa Rica), index to determine the water quality of two communities in the Caribbean region of Costa Rica. The most abundant macroinvertebrates present in the samples were: Trichoptera, Coleoptera, Ephemeroptera, Odonata, Plecoptera and Hemiptera. During the collection of macro-invertebrate samples, specimens from the Perlidae family were encountered, this family being a bioindicator of excellent water quality. During the practice the school-children communities developed an environmental conscience, organization abilities, and the assimilation of the technique in the community water resources evaluation process. Keywords. Biomonitoring, bioindicators , macro-invertebrates, river pollution, Costa Rica.
streams or watersheds over time in terms of anthropogenic alterations (Mafla. Location of sampling sites.3 53. 2005). sixteen girls and twelve boys (10 to 13 years old).. In the Las Mercedes school group. and a senior section with eleven women.882 2 1124573.. a junior section with four women.783 Guácimo River 1 1129428. Tabulation and data analysis. although maximum values of 200 and above are usual. In order to name macroinvertebrates in water there is an illustrated tutorial that allows their identification according to family taxonomic rank (Springer et al.378 2 1129771. 2007).681 Guácimo School Creek 1 1129581.132 542936.719 *CRTM-90 System (Costa Rica Transverse Mercator) Longitude (m)* 542583.9 72. participated with ages ranging from12 to 17. The BOD and COD values are the May and September averages.6 85. three men and a teacher. because they indicate environmental changes of water bodies such as rivers. a teacher. Location Dos Novillos River Site Latitude (m)* 1 1124241.2 108. June.821 536390. Materials and Methods The whole process of learning and application of the methodology was conducted by two groups of children and two college students. to foster teamwork among the community. Sample identification performed by student groups . which assigns a score between 1 and ∞. Dissolved oxygen (DO). These data were collected during the following months: May. Organization of biomonotoring training workshops with children groups. and September 2007. which assigns a specific value to the different macroinvertebrate families. adapted to Costa Rica) index. to identify the species of macroinvertebrates in rivers nearby and watch the trend of water quality for a period of time. The biomonitoring technique also teaches the inhabitants of rural communities to raise awareness to reduce pollution of water resources. water temperature (T). specimens were preserved in 70% alcohol.8 101. 6.783 2 1124798. 2003).958 2 1129657. Following project acceptance. This study aims to train school children on the determination of water quality through the implementation of a participatory and economically viable strategy that is based on the presence of biological indicators and as an independent support and corroboration for physical-chemical evaluations of aquatic environments. eight men.278 537377. Proposal of bioindicator project management to principals of each school. Macroinvertebrates are considered suitable bioindicators for this water feature (Roldan. Group Selection in the Pocora and Guácimo communities. and pH values were measured directly during river sampling. participated In the Guácimo High School group.Introduction Water quality is an important factor to ensure the health and life of organisms. 2007) and water quality was determined using the BMWP'-CR (Biological Monitoring Working Party. according to the tolerance of the macroinvertebrates at different levels of contamination. At the time of the biomonitoring. adapted to Costa Rica). according to their degree of pollution sensitivity. 7.. activity coordination with teachers in charge. This allows us to say that the implementation of biomonitoring is a technique that involves the participation of rural communities. Results and Discussion Biomonitoring .132 537068. Water quality can be categorized according to the index BMWP'-CR (Biological Monitoring Working Party. direct and net collection.984 542936. Table 1. Two methods were used to sample macroinvertebrates. August. samples were taken to analyze water for biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) (Clesceri et al.8 80.4 77.133 Las Mercedes Creek 1 1124798. Depending on the degree of pollution it is feasible to make modifications to achieve conservation and decontamination efforts (Soledispa. if they are trained in a properly way. 1997). Sample collection of macroinvertebrates in streams and rivers near to schools. 4. two mothers and a school teacher.1 The identification of macroinvertebrates was made with the aid of an illustrated guide (Springer et al.710 536858. years A participatory methodology of biomonitoring was applied following an experimental protocol with a descriptive and exploratory approach to assess river water quality in two local communities. 1999). 3. The data from these parameters are the result of a four repetition average performed concurrently with during biomonitoring. according the following sequence: 1. Sampling was performed for 30 minutes at various points along streams and rivers for each site (Table 1).013 542083. 2. 5.464 Altitude (masl) 113.
Figure 1.Below are the results of the water classification using biological indicators. contaminated Poor water quality. The Mercedes Creek showed a regular water quality according to the BMWP'-CR indez. pollution moderate Poor water quality. Figure 2. and September. Figure 3. Water quality classification of the Guácimo River and Guácimo High School Creek using the BMWP'-CR index. The Guácimo River has a regular water quality level. Site 1 Site 2 Dos Novillos River Site 1 Site 2 Mercedes Creek In general. Although the river has a moderately large channel. highly contaminated Figure 2 shows the results of sampling in the Dos Novillos River and the Mercedes Creek. August. Trichoptera. The data show monthly variations due to different rainfall levels during sampling. highly contaminated Very poor water quality. eutrophication.. These larvae are indicators of good to regular water quality. of the Leptohyphidae family. both indicators of good to regular water quality. which reported a moderate level of pollution. doing four replications at each of the two river sampling sites. they were predominantly observed in slow-running water and pools. . Macroinvertebrates found in great abundance were represented by the order Trichoptera (larval Hydropsychidae). according to the BMWP'-CR index (Figure 3). where sediment is deposited. showing a slight variation in time. Excellent water quality Good water quality. as described in Figure 1. not polluted or not appreciably altered Regular water quality. Water quality classification of the Dos Novillos River and Mercedes Creek using the BMWP'-CR index. which indicates a moderate water pollution. of the Hydropsychidae family are the most abundant organisms for site 1. it can be seen that river water quality in the Dos Novillos River varies from fair to good during the months of May. and for site 2 Ephemeroptera. June. These results are presented using bar graphs. the data collected showed uniformity during the months when the samples were taken. Color interpretation indicating water quality level.
Also. Guácimo High School Creek showed water quality levels ranging from regular to poor for (Figure 3).Site 1 Site 2 Site 1 Site 2 Guácimo River Guácimo H. Below are the orders and families of macroinvertebrates found in large numbers during sampling (Figures 46). indicating polluted water in both sites. and a point pollution source is draining into the creek before site 2. This level of poor water quality is confirmed by comparing differences with the other sampled rivers. This is the only site having more than one dipteran bioindicator and other indicators of fair to poor water quality (Hemiptera). the orders Trichoptera (Hydropsychidae) and Ephemeroptera (Baetidae) were found. Order: Ephemeroptera Family: Leptophlebiidae Order: Plecoptera Family: Perlidae Figure 5.S. in the form of a tilapia and pig farm waste discharge. Guácimo High School Creek was characterized by the presence of large numbers of larvae of the order Trichoptera (Hydropsychidae). Creek Macroinvertebrates of order Ephemeroptera (Leptophlebiidae). This large amount of settled solids foster larval growth. which are good indicators of good to regular water quality. Bioindicators of good to regular water quality. both taxa are indicators of good to regular water quality. Bioindicators of excelent to good water quality. This is to be expected because this creek flows through the town of Guácimo. Figure 4. This taxon is an excellent indicator of good water quality. were most abundant in all samples of the Guácimo River. .
68 7. Order: Odonata Family: Coenagrionidae Order: Hemiptera Family: Naucoridae Physical-chemical analysis The interpretation of dissolved oxygen (DO) values indicates that figures greater than 8 mg / L are considered as an indication of very little to no organic pollution. and the Guácimo river and creek are critically polluted.65 22.a. pH values for this study are within normal standards (Table 2).15 17.93 24.50 5.73 2.88 2.15 6.35 4. and less than 2 mg / L extremely polluted.50 9.a.88 3.58 24. When comparing physical-chemical values with the bioindicators indexes one can expect apparent contradictions with the results.50 10.05 5.Orden: Ephemeroptera Family: Baetidae Orden: Ephemeroptera Family: Leptohyphidae Orden: Trichoptera Family: Hydropsychidae Orden: Coleoptera Family: Psephenidae Figure 6.5.63 The pH levels for most aquatic organisms range from 5.61 6. 11. Table 2.85 7. from 6 to 8 mg / L are moderately polluted.00 7.6 to 8. remain within a narrow range (Table 2).43 6.95 23.71 6.00 6.00 n.39 7. from 2 to 4 mg / L critically polluted.85 23.50 n. Following this logic Mercedes Creek is moderately polluted.00 10.07 6. Then.50 9. The BOD and COD values. Dos Novillos River is almost moderately polluted. River or Creek Site Dos Novillos River 1 2 Mercedes Creek 1 2 Guácimo River 1 2 Guácimo HS Creek 1 2 DO (mg/L) 6. Participatory experience . 9.28 T (C) 23.62 3.25 4. from 4 to 6 mg / L very polluted.75 23.84 5.79 6. Average results of physical-chemical analysis of water from rivers and creeks studied.05 pH BOD (mg/L) COD (mg/L) 11.03 6. Bioindicators of regular to poor water quality.03 23. because the former system represents an instant in time. whereas the biomonitoring reflects long-term and continuous environmental effects.
with the collaboration of governmental institutions in each region. It was noted that the sub-working groups comprised of 4 or 5 students facilitates the organization and making data more representative of situations of rivers and creeks. The polluting effect of the pigsty on the water quality is notable.school students showed exhaustion and despair after three consecutive samples in the same day. For example: one or two children take the collection net. policies. or a jar containing 70 degrees alcohol to keep them. However. Now we know that there is life in rivers. Commitment and authorization of principals and teachers of schools for the development of the work plan with the students in communities. and the implementation of water treatment. Now we know more about water monitoring. as demonstrated the capability of understanding and responsibility to conduct biomonitoring in the place and time required. thus safer and representativeness of the data to the real situation of . It is important to collaborate and participate in extracurricular activities that benefit our children's knowledge. the interest to continue sampling during the following days induced a responsible and positive attitude in relation to the learning activities. we should not throw garbage into the rivers and you have to tell everyone the importance of water and our rivers. student at Las Mercedes primary-school. The proper size of groups provided greater control and security on subgroups. . Beginning with the third sample they exhibited a good performance during the biomonitoring process.Each group presented a characteristic behavior. student at Las Mercedes primary-school. because with the help of teachers subgroups remained orderly. valuating biomonitoring as an extracurricular activity that shows from another point of view the community resources and the community influence on the water quality of creeks and rivers. The identification process elicited a strong interest in knowing the names of the different macroinvertebrates. In determining the degree of river pollution it is important to create measures that will help reduce suchprocess. and we humans are contributing to such pollution. . primary. . The use of a identification guide for macroinvertebrates corrected to the area allows proper identification of samples.Student mother. However.Berny Ulate. teacher at Guácimo High-School. With the sampling of macroinvertebrates we can determine water quality. this implies the establishment of laws. . so they are able to serve all and avoid accidents. High-School students showed much attention. as was the case of the second sampling. Comments from teachers and students During biomonitoring we realized that rivers are polluted. Las Mercedes primary-school. teacher at Guácimo High-School. and starting already the second day they demonstrated a fair knowledge about the biomonitoring process. On the contrary. these students showed interest in comparing the quality of their local rivers with those at EARTH University. others move the stones and finally all children seek in the net the specimens collected. Availability and interest of groups to practice the art. Furthermore. . due in great part to the fact that they were self directed. It is remarkable to observe the change the two sampling points in our school creek.Jaison Alfaro. -Sharon González. In this moment we can be mentors for other students and we can help avoid the spread of river pollution.Anonymous student at Guácimo High-School. do not pollute.María José Lugo. Advantages of grouping of the students Easy organization of groups when taking data in the sampling sites. Advantages of Biomonitoring Techniques The use of macroinvertebrate in biomonitoring allows the application of the technique in sites with resource-poor settings because it does not require high-resolution equipment. With the help of a mesh and / or strainer and a guide to identify the spot. So.
. tailored to the tropical area. Antioquia (CO) : Universidad de Antioquia. while the Dos Novillos River and the Guácimo High School Creek have poor to fair quality water (contaminated with moderate pollution). References Clesceri. M. ISBN 95-8655-671-9. 1ª ed. contingency. Vásquez. However.. or climatic conditions (rainfall). 2005. The illustrated guide allows for quick visual identification of the bioindicators present in the area. we believe that teachers can keep sampling per month with other groups. Guácimo (CR) : Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR). Talamanca-Costa Rica. completion of classes). A. Standard methods for examination of water and wastewater. Bioindicación de la calidad del agua en Colombia: propuesta para el uso del método BMWP/Col. Kohlmann. allowed the proper identification of samples. Biodiversidad y bioindicadores de perturbación en la vegetación tropical de la región Atlántica de Costa Rica [Proyecto de Graduación. 84 p. Guácimo (CR) : Universidad EARTH. L.]. Changes in the schedule of activities generated distortion in the sampling dates.. Mafla. 1997. Ing. The technique is simple and easy assimilation by the groups. . 20th ed. Lic. Depending on the distance and obstacles to reach the rivers. 2003. because children cannot open the net. and thus a real evaluation of the actual situation of the studied rivers and creeks. Washington (US) : American Public Health Association. Organization of groups to follow the process and take corrective actions to reduce pollution levels in rivers and creeks in the area. After heavy rains. 2007. in stony rivers the number of macroinvertebrates drops. Eaton. 1325 p. Guía para la realización de evaluaciones ecológicas rápidas en ríos de tamaño mediano con indicadores biológicos. 170 p. Bioindicadores de la calidad del agua [hoja de campo]. Agr. interest and commitment to participate and protect this valuable resource. The location of the rivers is a determinant of access. it was concluded that Las Mercedes Creek and the Guácimo River have a regular level of water quality (moderate pollution). Communities wish to understand and determine the specific causes of pollution. biomonitoring fails clarify this situation. 6 p.. 1999. C. This is due to changes of dates during the school classes (holidays. M. Disadvantages of biomonitoring techniques The use of nets to collect insects in very fast currents is not appropriate. rivers and creeks studied. Conclusions According to biomonitoring BMWP'-CR indexes. Classes conclude in November and students move to other schools. Disadvantages of grouping of students The low level of awareness that groups have on natural resources and mitigating environmental impacts retards the ability to understand the reasons for the determination of water quality in communities. however. This time the process was implemented during the period from March to September. this having been the cause of accidents. Springer. should be regarded as means of transport or other access routes that present no danger of accidents. and A. it can be used by people who can read and write. G. Turrialba (CR) : CATIE. Soledispa. Universidad EARTH. 86 p. ISBN 08-7553235-7. D. No awareness of the community water resources was observed in students prior to sampling. and B. therefore strongly influencing BMWP'-CR values. The use of the macroinvertebrate identification guide. Roldán. Greenberg. after learning the biomonitoring techniques. can even be implemented by groups with literacy difficulties writing. they reflected a greater knowledge.