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Marion High School Field Biology: Fall 2005

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Water Quality Tests

Why are the water quality tests performed?

The streams we test at are Thomas Park, Donnelly Park, and Sac and Fox Trails the water quality tests we perform at each of these places three times throughout the fall season are extremely important. Each test tells us how healthy the water is and the inhabitants in it are, as a result of the data. With this information we can better understand our surrounds and help the state clean-up the streams and help keep them for future generations to enjoy.

Water Quality Test Procedures


To do the testing for flow first you need to gather up the following items: a tape measure, a yard stick, a small floatable ball, a stop-watch, and a themometer. During the flow test you measure average width, average depth, and the average time of the stream current. First the width is measured with the tape measure and recorded. Next to get the average depth the yard stick is placed in the water at 5 different places. In those same places 10ft. is measured out and one person places the ball in the water and the time it takes to get to the other person is recorded using the stop-watch. To get temperature we use the thermometer by placing it into the water.


Dissolved Oxygen:

Dissolved oxygen is a test that measures the oxygen levels within the creek. The level of oxygen is very important for the livelihood of the fish and other organisms living in the creek. To begin the test we retrieved a small sample of creek water in a vial. We added two tablets from the dissolved oxygen kit and shook it up until it was completely dissolved. After it dissolved the color change was observed and copared to the colors on the chart. The colors are: clear(0ppm), pink(4ppm), and orange(8ppm).



The pH is tested to measure the acidity of the water in the creek. The way we did this was by placing a pH strip into the water, we then observed the color change. Once the change was complete it was compared to the colors on the chart. From there a final measurement of pH was determined. 1 to 6.6 is an acidic substance, 7 is neutral, and 7.6 to 10 is an alkaline substance.



To perform this test a medium sized vile is filled with creek water. Then two drops of phenophailine is added to the creek water. CO2 is then added a drop at a time to the phenophailine and the creek water. It is then shook up after every drop of CO2 is added. That is repeated until the water begins to turn a pink color.



For this test two 50mL graduated cylinders, distilled water, and turbidity solution are needed. First one graduated cylinder is filled up with creek water, the other is then filled up with distilled water. The turbidity solution is added to the distilled water 0.5mL at a time. The turbidity solution is added until the visibility of the black dot on the bottom of both cylinders is the same.



To measure clarity a black and white disk is placed into the ceek water. It is lowered into the water until the pattern on the disk is no longer visible. The depth it was lowered into the water is then the measurement of the clarity of the water.

Test Results

Thomas Park:


Donnelly Park:


Sac and Fox Trails:


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Ashley Murray
Fall 2005