Water Quality Indicators

By Joe Cappelmann

pH And Its Effects On Water

The scale that measures the Acidity and Alkalinity in a substance. The scale ranges from 0- 14 the lower the number is the more acidic it is and 7 on the scale is Neutral and Example of this is Water. The pH of water is very important for example Fresh water has a pH rating of about 6-9. This means the water is right on the border between Acidic and a Base. However lets say people pollute the water with things that are acidic and the pH of the water goes down to about 4 then this is a big concern for swimmers and wildlife. Many fish can't survive acidic water therefore the Wildlife would die and the food chain would change drastically in that area.

Dissolved Oxygen And Its Effects on Water

Dissolved oxygen is the amount of oxygen that has dissolved in water to help the fish and aquatic life survive. You cannot see the oxygen in the water. However it is very crucial for life in the water because it allows the animals to breathe, even though their is about 10 ppm of dissolved oxygen in the water. Also if the dissolved oxygen is to low it will cause eutrophication which causes the water to die and not many living things will be left in it. To much oxygen can break down pipes and tubes in the water.

Turbidity And Its Effects on Water

Turbidity is the measure of water clarity and how much things like soil and clay blocks the passage of light through the water. The higher the Turbidity causes the water to be warmer due to the substances like soil absorbing the suns heat. This affects the amount of Dissolved oxygen in the water because the warmer the water the less DO there is. So you can see that is a big problem, if the water has to much turbidity the water will get to warm causing the Dissolved Oxygen to be lost and all the fish can die. Also the particles in the water like the algae and soil clog fish gills killing them. The things that cause high turbidity is erosion, runoff and the dumping of wastes in the water.
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Temperature And Its Effects on Water

Temperature is how hot and cold the water is. Temperature plays a big role in water quality, For example the temperature effects the animals that live their and the eco system. The things that contribute to the temperature of the water is how hot or cold the air is also factories can be letting radiation get into the water which can be extremely toxic to fish and humans. This would definitely effect the water quality in a negative way. Another effect on the water is if the water is to warm it can mean that their is a lot of turbidity (soil,algae and sand) which can clog fish gills killing the animals and affecting the water quality. Also if the water is to cold the Animals can die and evntually they will be no more wildlife in the water.

Nitrates And Its Effect on Water

Nitrate is a gas that is essential to all life in the water, for example it helps algae and other plants grown that feed fish. However to much or to little nitrate can cause devastating effects on the life in the Water and the quality of the water. For example if their is too much nitrate their will be a rapid growth of alage causing the dissolved oxygen levels to change distrupting all the life in the water and possibly killing the animals. It can affect humans because the alage and the other bad things in the water can contaminate our drinking water from wells. However to little Nitrates can also effect the quality because the plant and animals could die from the lack of nitrates. This would not be good for the water quality because there would be dead decaying fish in the water.
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Bio Indicators and Their effects on Water

Bio indicators can be animals that are used to monitor water quality. For example the Caddisfly which lives in water helps see the water quality. Also other fish and plants are used to test water quality. These living things in water help scientist see if their species are dying out and they can figure out from there that if it has to do with the water quality. For example let say they find soil and other debris trapped in a Caddisfly's gills that that can shown that there is a very high amount of turbidity in the water. However let say their is a rapid increase in Caddisfly that can tell scientist that their predators are dying off so they can tell if water quality is killing that animal.
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