Does Jackson Park Water Have Higher Phosphorous Levels Than Water From Lapham State Park?

Rachel McNulty & Diana Sadowski

Abstract

                In this experiment, we tested the phosphorous levels in water samples from Jackson Park and Lapham State Park. Our hypothesis was that water from a rural area, Lapham State Park, would have lower phosphorous levels than the water in the urban area, Jackson Park, due to the fact that there would be more soil for the phosphorous to soak into. The p-value was less than 0.01. Overall, the water from Jackson Park had a higher level of phosphorous (0.4 ppm) than the water from Lapham State Park (0.2 ppm).

Keywords:  phosphorous, water, Jackson Park, Lapham State Park

Introduction

                The main concern with excess amount of phosphorous is that the more phosphorous in a water system, the more algae that is able to thrive which in turn lowers the level of oxygen (Cowen & Lee, 1976). When algae is still alive it is going through photosynthesis, which produces oxygen but when it dies off, which it usually does all at once, not only is the amount of oxygen produced cut but the breakdown of the algae by bacteria reduces the oxygen level because the bacteria need that oxygen (Sawyer, 1996). Ways that phosphorous can enter a water system include agricultural fertilizer, live stock dietary supplements, and landscaping (Bennet et al., 1999). In the rural setting, there is soil that the phosphorous nutrients can be absorbed into but in the urban setting concrete takes over a large area of what would be covered with soil. This likely inhibits the absorption of phosphorous in the soil.

Materials and Methods

                On November 6, 2011 at 1340 we drove to our first test site (Lapham State Park) and collected eight water samples. Each sample was tested using the LaMotte nitrate and phosphorus water test kit. At 1500 we went to Jackson Park and performed the same procedure. The procedure we followed was obtained from the LaMotte nitrate and phosphate in water test kit we followed the procedures under the phosphate testing procedures, steps one through four. However before the water was tested, it was filtered through 11cm Whatman filter paper catalog number 60244.

Results

                Our results showed us that water sample from Jackson Park had a higher phosphorous level at 0.4 ppm compared to the amount of phosphorous in the water from Lapham State Park.  The standard deviation for the data was 0.

Figure 1. Phosphorous levels in ppm for the Lapham State Park and Jackson Park samples.

Discussion

                The water samples from Jackson Park had a higher phosphorous level than the water samples from Lapham State Park. Due to the fact that there was no variation in ppm per water sample from each park, the p- value was <0.01. Our data did support our hypothesis of water from a rural area, Lapham State Park, would have a lower phosphorous levels than the water in the urban area, Jackson Park, due to the fact that there would be more soil for the phosphorous to soak into. If we were to repeat this experiment, we would make a couple of changes. Instead of using a testing kit, we would perform a titration bases phosphorous test in order to get a more precise measurement of the phosphorous levels, rather than relying on eye sight. Also, we would perform this experiment multiple times over a larger period of time due to eliminate the temperature and season variable.

Literature Cited

Bennet, E., Reed-Andersen, T., Houser, J., Gabriel, J., & Carpenter, S, (1999). A phosphorus budget for the lake Mendota watershed. Ecosystems, 2(1), 69-75. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3658599

Cowen, W., & Lee, G. (1976). Phosphorus availability in particulate materials transported by urban runoff. Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 48(3), 580-591. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/25038539

Sawyer, C. N. (1996). Basic concepts of eutrophication. Journal (Water Pollution Control Federation) , 38(5), 737-744. Retrieved from Article Stable URL: http://0-www.jstor.org.topcat.switchinc.org/stable/25035549