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Savage, Hughes, Schaffer, Sundberg 1

Caroline Savage, Arianna Hughes, Kaitlyn Schaffer, Samantha Sundberg

Mrs Norris

AP Environmental Science

8 December 2016

Water Quality Lab

Hypothesis:

we think that because of the location of the pond and smith creek being around a

construction site that smith creek will have higher levels of turbidity as well as nitrate. Because

of this we think holding pond is going to be a better water environment.

Introduction:​On a trip down to behind the school parking lot of Heritage High School, one

might discover a large amount of construction happening along the sides of the Smith Creek and

pond. The construction has caused a increased amount of sediment to enter the water resulting in

an increase in turbidity. The construction site also contains sediment stoppers which will

decrease the amount of sediment that would normally fall into the stream. Regarding the pond,

the pond collects all of the pollution from the student parking lot. The negative outcomes of

contamination influence many people of Wake Forest because these people could be getting their

drinking water from these bodies of water. The outcomes that come from contamination of the

stream or pond pollute our agriculture downstream along with causing bigger problems when the

creek connects with other bodies of water.

¶ ​The tests performed to identify the quality of a certain body of water are as followed:

dissolved oxygen, turbidity, total solids, pH level, temperature and flow rate, nitrates,

biochemical oxygen demand, and Phosphorus levels.


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¶ ​To help aid in the resolution of water pollution, humans should buy and use more

environmentally safe liquids and chemicals, use water wisely to prevent water shortages, and do

not throw away any chemicals such as, oils, paints or medicines down the drain without the

proper method to get rid of the chemicals. Using the correct disposal methods will stop the

chemicals from finding their way into the streams. Along with following the requirements for the

Federal Water Pollution Control Act and the Clean Drinking act. These acts pertain to the

pollution found in drinking water, and making sure that the water we are drinking is safe to be

consuming. The acts also monitor the levels of pollution in each body of water.

Data and Analysis:

The tests were performed in the following conditions:

Date:​ 12-8-16

Time:​ Approximately 7:45 am

Location:​ Holding pond and Smith Creek Behind Heritage High School

Air Temperature: ​About 7 degrees Celsius

Test Ideal Results Poor Results Smith Creek Holding pond

Temperature (C) N/A N/A 10.2 10.2

pH 7.0 Below 6.5 7 6.5


Above 8.2

Phosphate (ppm) 0.0 Above 0.1 2 0

Nitrate (ppm) 0.0 Above 10 4.4 .88

Turbidity 0.0 NTU Above 1.0 NTU 0 0

Dissolved 91-110% <50% saturation 35 71


Oxygen (ppm) Saturation
Above is the chart with the data that was collected by doing the various water quality tests.
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● The Picture to the left is the stream water sample, middle is pond water sample and the

right is the area from where the pond and stream are which illustrates the construction.

In the chart above, the nitrate levels of past years are graphed with the nitrate levels that

were taken this year. The blue line in the graph shows the Smith Creek levels and the Red line
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shows the holding pond nitrate levels. As seen through both lines the nitrate levels are

increasing. Nitrates can come from many different sources naturally, including organic matter in

the water, and also the soil that's in the ground, but humans can also impact the nitrate levels by

polluting the waters with nitrogen fertilizers on fields and grasses and also poor functioning

septic tanks. The reason for the sudden increase in Nitrogen levels in this year in both the

holding pond and in the stream could be for a number of reasons. One of the major ones is the

construction, which is causing more soil erosion which is causing more of the fertilizers that are

used on Heritage High School grounds to be washed into the stream and pond. In the end, the

increase in nitrates in both bodies of water are not a positive addition to the environment and if

this trend continues could cause large algal blooms which can end up killing off many of the

other plant and animal species living in these locations.

Conclusion: ​-5 incorrect or missing citation from outside sources

Based on the data gathered by testing the water quality of Smith Creek and Holding

Pond, both bodies of water can be characterized with desirable and undesirable results. Ideally,

pH levels range from a 6.5 to an 8.2. Smith Creek has a pH of neutral 7, however Holding Pond

is slightly more acidic with a pH of 6.5. Phosphate levels of a high quality body of water do not

exceed 0.1ppm, and Holding Pond holds to that standard. Smith Creek, however, has a phosphate

level of 2, much higher than what could be considered healthy for a variety of marine life.

Nitrate levels are another factor that decides water quality level. Typically, nitrate levels should

not be above 10 ppm. Smith Creek tested to be a healthy level of 4.4 ppm, and Holding Pond

resulted in .88 ppm, well within the ideal amount of nitrate. Turbidity (amount of suspended

particles in a body of water) can also help determine water quality. A healthy body of water
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should not have an amount of turbidity above 1 NTU. In this case, both Smith Creek and

Holding Pond had 0 NTU of turbidity. Finally, water should have a dissolved oxygen level

between 91% to 110%. Both Smith Creek (35%) and Holding Pond (71%) resulted in poor levels

of dissolved oxygen. This could be caused by a plethora of environmental factors: rising

temperatures, surrounding pollution, lack of photosynthetic organisms, etc… Holding Pond and

Smith Creek are located in areas that are highly susceptible to pollution. The are both near

construction sites, and recently were both flooded due to hurricane Matthew. Decreases in tree

coverage, and increased amounts of runoff are two major factors that decrease water quality and

increase pollution levels in any body of water.

The water quality of Smith Creek and Holding Pond were both less than ideal due to

surrounding pollutants in the environment. To reverse this, more trees and plants could be

planted around the bodies of water to stop soil erosion, which will help with runoff, or in the

bodies of water to increase dissolved oxygen levels. Wake County could cease construction, and

use the creek and pond for strictly educational purposes. More fish and underwater animals could

be placed in the bodies of water to create an ecosystem and provide more nutrients to the water.

It would take a long time, but it is possible to protect and restore the water quality of Smith

Creek and Holding Pond behind Heritage High School.

If I were able to study the macroinvertebrate population of Smith Creek, I would expect

to find fauna that are tolerant of pollution levels. I would most likely find leeches and worms or

other macroinvertebrates from bioassessment group 3, because they are capable of living in low

water qualities, and also live in north carolina.


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In conclusion, the water qualities of Smith Creek and Holding Pond tested to be less than

ideal. They are subjected to high amounts of runoff and pollution, therefore cannot support a

variety of life. While it is possible to reverse the pollution that has affected the two bodies of

water, it would take a very long time.

Bibliography: ​-2 primary source/current event?

"Clean Water Act." ​NASA​. NASA, 2005. Web. 18 Dec. 2016.

"Summary of the Clean Water Act." ​EPA​. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 18 Dec.

2016.

Flinn Scientific Incorporated BioFax (Water Testing Booklet)

"Menu." ​Wheatley River Improvement Group​. Wheatley River Improvement Group, n.d. Web.

18 Dec. 2016.