What’s Water Quality?

312 words | 2 page(s)


Phosphates can get into the water from a variety of sources that include human and animal wastes, laundry detergents, fertilizers, industrial wastewater, cleaning solutions, and phosphorous-containing rocks. A small amount of phosphate, about 0.1 ppm, is normal and acceptable. However, too much phosphate can result in the eutrophication of a bay or lake. This means that plant growth is accelerated by the phosphate and other chemicals and the plants cannot die quickly enough.

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The body of water becomes shallower because of the dense plant matter on the bottom. We calculated the phosphate level for each of the three samples, bay, beach, and tap water, by placing some of each sample in a test tube and adding the phosphate test material from the kit. The bay water had 1 ppm of phosphate, which is ten times what it should be. But the beach water and tap water had even more — 2 ppm. The bay is in danger of algae blooms and eutrophication.

Turbidity is another word for cloudiness in the water. The cloudiness can be caused by chemicals, germs, or sand and mud. The sand and mud are large problems during heavy rains because more sand and mud are washed into the rivers, lakes, or other bodies of water. Turbidity is very important for water treatment systems because it makes the water purification processes less efficient. The water treatment equipment may become full of mud or sand, which can prevent chlorination from kills germs in the water. Some water treatment facilities have equipment that removes turbidity.

We used a turbidity meter to determine the cloudiness of water samples from the bay, the beach, and the tap. Each water sample was clear with no turbidity visible. That is, each sample of water had 0 Jackson turbidity units (JTU). This means that chlorination of the tap water was probably successful in removing bacteria and other germs.

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