Wetland Site Inventory - Water Chemistry
Dissolved Oxygen ____________ ppm Turbidity ___________ NTUs or JTUs
Nitrates ____________ ppm Phosphates ___________ ppm
Temperature Temperature determines the rate of chemical and metabolic reactions. Warm water speeds up reactions, therefore, warm water usually contains more fish that grow bigger and faster. Cooler water contains more dissolved oxygen than warm water.
pH Fish, frogs, and most other aquatic life can tolerate a pH of 5 to 8.5 (neutral pH = 7.0;
pH < 7.0 is acidic and pH > 7.0 is alkaline or basic.) The pH of rain is naturally 5.5 Causes of increased acidity of water include: mine drainage, acid rain, and industrial wastes. Depending upon the geology of the area, some soils will better buffer a lower pH. Alkaline industrial wastes are the primary cause for high pH values.
Dissolved Oxygen Oxygen is essential for aquatic organisms. Lack of oxygen in the water can cause many stream insects and fish to die. Organic materials in water (dead plants and animals or human wastes) require oxygen to decompose. Too much organic materials from wastewater treatment plant discharges, industrial discharges, runoff of livestock wastes and septic systems, etc. may use up all of the oxygen dissolved in the water. Dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations should not be less than 4.0 mg/l (ppm) for warm water fish and not less than 5.0 mg/l (ppm) for cold water fish. Colder water can contain more DO than warmer water.
Phosphates Phosphorus is an important nutrient that promotes the growth of plants. The amount found in water is generally not more than 0.1 ppm unless the water has become polluted. Sources of phosphates in water are: human wastes and detergents discharged by wastewater treatment plants or septic systems, or fertilizer runoff from golf courses, lawns, and farming areas.
Nitrates Nitrogen is essential for plant growth, but excessive amounts in water accelerates plant and algae growth. Nitrogen compounds may enter water from: fertilizer runoff from lawns, golf courses, or farm fields; sewage from septic systems or municipal wastewater treatment plants: industrial discharges; dairies; food-packing plant wastes; and livestock wastes. Nitrates should not exceed 10 ppm for drinking water, but finding any nitrate in the water is cause for concern.
Turbidity Turbidity, or cloudiness in the water, is caused by eroded soil (sediment) or high concentrations of microscopic plankton due to excess nutrients (P & N) in the water. Sediment buries fish eggs and stream macroinvertebrates on the stream bottom, damages gills, and interferes with ability of fish to find food. Drinking water < 0.5 NTU; groundwater < 1.0 NTU.