Watershed and Lake Bio-Geochemistry: Movement of Phosphorus and Sediments from Forested Areas into Water Bodies
AIChE Annual Meeting
Monday, November 14, 2016 - 10:00am to 12:30pm
Eutrophication is known as an excess of nutrients (mainly nitrogen and phosphorus) in water bodies, specially rivers and lakes, due to runoff from lands which causes an incontrollable growth of algae that can cause animal death because of food, oxygen and habitat shortage. Lake Champlain, in the state of Vermont, has been experiencing an algae bloom problem through the past years. Many factors are believed responsible for the bloom, like for example agricultural practices, soil erosion and climate change. It was determined that phosphorus (P) is one of the main nutrients responsible for the algae blooms, especially in summer where the temperature tends to increase; also is the one factor that can actually be mitigated. This research was focused in Missisquoi Bay, which constitutes only 0.8% of the total volume of the lake. In the Missisquoi Bay three sites were studied, Ross Brook and Kings Hill Brook. Each one of these sites with different surroundings that contribute to the phosphorus (P) concentrations in the soils and water streams. Ross Brook has a maple sugaring farm and a livestock area where they had access to the stream and Kings Hill has a maple sugaring farm nearby and it is believed to be a logging site. Each site was water sampled by an ISCO during each big storm. Data was downloaded where levels, samples, temperature and turbidity values were obtained. After recollecting data, all the samples were taken to the chemistry laboratory analyze and quantify total phosphorus (TP), soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) and total suspended solids (TSS). Further research would try to demonstrate that high phosphorus concentrations in the lake result mainly from agricultural activities rather than forested areas; given that agricultural activities are common in the state.