Health of a Water System

By: Kayla Dyson & Patricia Dixon

You might not realize...

That water quality affects your quality of life, as well as other organisms that depend on water. Therefore, it is important to understand how the properties of water influence water quality. There are six factors of water quality; dissolved oxygen, temperature, nitrates, pH, turbidity, and biological indicators.

Dissolved Oxygen, Temperature, and Nitrates

Dissolved Oxygen~ is the oxygen dissolved in water, and we need certain levels of DO for the animals underwater to survive.~ Without enough DO, organisms will stress and result in death.Temperature~ Changes DO levels ~ Cold water holds more oxygen than warm~ A major increase in temperature can cause thermal pollution, which will decrease DO levelsNitrates~ Naturally occuring compounds of nitrogen and oxygen ~ Small amounts of nitrates in water are normal~ Elevated nitrate levels can be harmful to organisms ~ Excess of nitrates in lakes and rivers can also lower DO levels

pH, Turbidity, and Biological Factors

pH~ The pH of a body of water identifies the aid/base balance of the water.~Normal, healthy pH rnanges from about 6.5 to 8.5~ Within this range, chemicals dissolved in water are available as nutrients that can be used by organisms.~ Lower or higher pH may disrupt the availability of nutrients in a water systemTurbidity~ is the measure of the concentration of particles suspended in water ~ High turbidity reduces light penetration and visibility in the water.~ Turbidity often includes sediments such as silt and clay, waste water discharge from industry, and at times of abnormally high concentrations phytoplankton~ High concentrations of particles significantly reduce light penetration~Lack of light negatively affects health of aquatic organisms and reduces photosynthesisBiologcal Indicators~ includes plants and animals~ Fishes are a main way to show an indicator of change that has taken place in an body of water~ the fish dieoff is an indicator of thermal pollution~ other organisms that indicate water quality are aquatic plants, aquatic insects, mussels, leeches, and worms.