Friday, August 28, 2009

The H2S Issue

Now that we have some time to digest what we found, I can share.
We took 2 sediment samples from one point off of Todd's Point and one in Stamford harbor.
Both reasonably deep water (30 feet)
They were black and heavy, they did not smell of Hydrogen Sulfide.
The initial test I forgot to take a pH, we will do that again.
Adding acid released a lot of H2s and CO2.
When I did the actual test one came back with 2 mg/L (they were suspended in Sound water) and the other 5 mg/L
They were trapped in the carbonate material which was released during the first part of the test.
Sulfate (SO4) was 2,000 mg/L and 4,300 mg/L respectfully.
The H2S smoking Gun did not prove itself.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Theory, the pitfalls, the execution, intial results

I now have enough samples with some that do not fit the mold to understand what I am seeing.
The Theory - was that pH would allow me to tell if fresh water (and thus water with bacteria) was influencing the beaches.

The pitfalls - Although it is a determined fact that the pH of fresh water in this area is more acidic than the Estuary of Long Island Sound, there are other factors which will affect the reading.
Temperature will drive CO2 out of the water and you will get a more basic reading.
Fresh water does indeed "float" on top of the saltier and denser Long Island Sound Water.
There maybe still another temperature defendant reaction which makes the water more basic as the temperature climbs.

Because of these variables, I have also been measuring chlorides (simple way to measure salinity) and there is a good correlation between the intrusion of fresh water and pH.

Measurements were conducted of beach water (3 feet deep), shellfish waters (up to 20 feet deep) and spots in the Sound itself (up to 80 feet deep).
Outfalls from treatment plants and rivers were also measured.
This is a minimum of 20 samples a week.
All samples are taken at about 1 foot depth.
Samples were measured for pH and chlorides along with the normal bacteria densities I would perform.
Duplicate samples were used to determine validity of samples and testing and that is where the first surprise occurred. On one sample set. there was no duplication between either chloride of pH.
Since we also maintain a log of rain events and weather conditions, we could see that a 0.2" rain the night before had not mixed yet.
Tides are known and added in to the mix.
pH and chloride levels matched with information we already had deduced on tidal currents in 2 places.

Initial results - What I believe is this is an excellent method to determine flow and current in the shoreline.
Since the flows in the shoreline is difficult at best this provided a tool to assist determining this for different tide levels.

Monday, August 3, 2009

What it feeds

Rain that is. June 16th we had one of those heavy rains - 3 + inches. I said then things may improve.
I was right!
Before this there seemed to be nothing living in the Sound. There was no algae, there were no small bunker (peanut bunker), there were no small game fish. There were no big fish. The jelly fish that started early in the year had also disappeared. The Sound appeared to be a dessert.

July 13th Art Glowka told me that he was suddenly seeing some algae and seaweed around. I said 3 or 4 weeks for life to come from the food that was washed into the Sound, lets see when the fish come.
This last weekend apparently the cycle came to fruition and everyone was catching, well everything!
Listen to the creatures and what they say!

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Approaching a new idea is not always an easy road and there are many pitfalls. So it is with my understanding of what pH and chloride levels mean in the water.
I already have maybe 40 or so samples in a week and I think I am seeing patterns of flow from the results.
I will keep looking and see what shows.