The Effects of Water Quality of Streams on the Water Quality of the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay


2013 Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair

The abstract below was written by the student. The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District made no editorial changes.

The Effects of Water Quality of Streams on the Water Quality of the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay

By: Cyrus Adams-Mardi and Tristan Keightley, West Potomac High School

 

Abstract

The purpose of the experiment was to determine the indicator capabilities of local streams for predicting the water qualities of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. In order to determine this property, a correlation between the three bodies of water must be found. The hypothesis was that if the water conditions of the stream show any changes from the neutral pH and ammonia concentration of zero, then the water qualities in the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay will change to reflect the same difference as observed in the stream; the changes in water quality will be similar. The procedure was repeated in each of the three locations. Before collecting any water data, recorded the temperature and precipitation received over the course of the week (only used to observe meteorological trends while collecting data.) Next, the pH of the water using pH paper was determined and recorded. Then the concentration of ammonia in the water was determined using an ammonia aqua-comparator. The last two steps are repeated for the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay and pre-determined constant locations. Repeat all steps weekly for 5 to 7 weeks depending on weekly variation. The data showed a strong correlation between the water qualities of all three bodies of water, which confirmed the hypothesis. While the stream’s water qualities showed much greater weekly fluctuation, this was expected because they act as natural filtering systems in their tributaries. Based on our findings, we can use the correlation to predict water qualities in the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay during any meteorological event. 


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