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An Investigation into the water quality of the River Banwell in

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

An Investigation into the water quality of the River Banwell in Wick St Lawrence Content * Introduction Pages 3 to 6 * Case Study Pages 6 to 10 * Introduction Continued Pages 10 to 15 * Hypothesis Page 16 * Equipment Page 16 to 17 * Method Page 17 to 20 * Preliminary experiment, results and evaluation Page 20 to 22 * Aim: The aim of the investigation is to test the water quality by working out levels or quantities of indicator species, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate, ammonium, temperature and pH. Samples will be taken down stream to come to a conclusion whether or not the river is polluted. The results will be compared to ones taken by the Environment agency to come to a conclusion. Introduction: Why is water quality important? Approximately 97% of the Earths surface is water, including in the solid state, ice. About 0.06% of this fresh water is found in ground water sources eg, aquifers. Only a small percentage, about 0.01% is contained within our lakes, streams and rivers. This water is so important to many ecosystems on land and life on the planet. We depend on this water for many different purposes for example, to drink, to grow food, generate electricity and to enhance our surroundings. Even our simple necessities eg: cleaning and washing requires water. The Water Cycle The hydrological cycle is the basis of this investigation. Without it life on this planet would not exist. In this diagram it illustrates how solar radiation, which is the driving force behind the cycle creates this cycle of water. This includes, precipitation from water in the clouds, infiltration into the ground or surface run off into near by water sources, then followed by evaporation and transpiration back into the atmosphere. The rate of evaporation/transpiration and precipitation help calculate the base-line quantity for human consumption. Precipitation is all forms of water falling onto the ground, which includes, snow, rain, hail and sleet. There are many ways of measuring this data. ...read more.

Middle

These are then leached by percolating rainwater into a river. This could lead to species of plants or an increase number of a certain plant to become more abundant. This process is called eutrophication. For example more algae will be present on the riverbed. Leading to an indication of a more contaminated water body. * PH indication: Aquatic animals are sensitive to the acidity or alkalinity of water. Water can increase in pH as a result of high photosynthetic rates of algae which links back to fertilisers. The algae use up the CO2 in the water changing the state of equilibrium in the river causing the carbonate to dissociate. * Nitrate and nitrite: When an ammonium-based fertiliser is used on a field nitrification will occur. This process NH4+ --> NO2- --> NO3- is called nitrification. Caused by bacteria called nitrosomonas and nitrobacter. These will also cause eutrophication to an extent but not as visible as in a lake as the water is moving constantly so the compounds are being diffused at a more constant rate. From initial investigations the rate at which water is moving is slow at this moment in time. Nitrogen Cycle Nitrogen in the air is made available to plants by the process of nitrogen fixation. This conversion of nitrogen into ammonium then dissolves in soil moisture to form ammonium ions. Plants can then use these ammonium ions and take them up through the root hairs or may be converted into nitrite or nitrate by nitrifying bacteria. Nitrate ions can be absorbed by plants or turned back into nitrogen gas by denitrifying bacteria. Only certain types of plants can carry out the process of nitrogen fixation. Rhizobium is in particular special because of its symbiotic relationship with leguminous plants eg peas. They are present in modules that are formed on the roots of the plant. The bacteria contained provide the plant with ammonia and in return the plant provides sugars from the phloem that it needs to sustain life. ...read more.

Conclusion

On a practicality point of view, the water was sometimes out of reach so other means were needed to reach the water. The alcohol thermometer was small in reach compared to the digital thermometer where it had a reach that was suitable. Also the measurements from the digital reader were more accurate, and this is my reason for choosing method 2. The indicators were both measured in the same way but different measures of capture were used. Method 2 was impractical and a safety issue. Climbing into this river, which no safety equipment available would be dangerous so method one was chosen. Method one was found to be also more efficient as the bed was easily disturbed using the net itself. Nitrate and Nitrite had 3 methods written. Method one was the test using the strip. Even though this test proved time efficient the results that were presented were not accurate enough for myself to come to a conclusion. Instead of receiving an accurate measurement of how much nitrate/nitrate would be in the sample the sticks only could determine whether they were present. Method 2 and method 3 both produced accurate results, but method 2 was more time consuming than method 3. Method 3 was therefore chosen for this reason. Ammonia was test with a test kit and a strip measurement test. Again as with the other methods the strip has proven to be an unreliable test showing only a negative or a positive result. For a conclusion to occur the data collected will need to be in more depth. This depth must show the different concentrations within different test sites. Phosphate was tested using the test kit and a test kit used for testing levels for a fish tank. The test kit for fish tanks also was limited in the sense that only a presence reading was available compared to the test kit was in giving readings to 2dp. Even thought the test kit is more time consuming it is necessary to get this data accurately to come to a fair conclusion. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 21 22 ...read more.

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