Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Treatment plant outfall tests and why

I will not probably post the raw data anymore. I will tell you that the testing was performed verifying each tests using standard, USEPA and FDA methods, quality control and collection procedures. That is if you are interested, they are logged in at the Lab.
The results are some what surprising and you may question why I did certain tests.
An example is pH. Salt water oceans tend to be significantly more basic than the fresh water feeds. This tells me more about mixing of the two than anything I could think of. Why not salinity? Because treatment plant discharge will have significant salinity (not as much as the Sound, but still, I needed a better handle and pH seems to provide that).
Turbidity? The measure of particles in the water. comparable to secchi disk readings? maybe or maybe not. Rough water would increase the reading and might give a rise in the bacteria that I looked for.
Reactive phosphate - a nutrient, suggested ny one group as the limiting factor in the Sound for algae growth.
Nitrite - nitrogen - allwos be to look at possible bacterial activity and for the test performed alows me to determine Nitrate nitrogen.
Nitrate nitrogen is the bad boy according to the US EPA, but the levels have remained consistant inthe Sound for 50 years of testing.
Total coliforms - a good general bacteria that might live anywhere.
Fecal coliforms - more of fecal origin (all kinds), but are like total coliforms saphorites (meaning they will grow in warmer water). This is used as a standard by the FDA to determine if it is okay top harvest shellfish.
E. coli - the natural kind (not H 0157) again fecal in origin.
Enterococcus - a group D spterptococcus and used by the US EPA as an indicator of health at bathing beaches. It Likes salt water!
That is what I tested for and why.
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