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A study on the water quality of Austwick beck

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Title: A study on the water quality of Austwick beck


1
A study on the water quality of Austwick beck
  • By Alec Christie

2
Aim
  • In the main investigation of this project, I
    hope to explore how the water quality of Austwick
    beck in North Yorkshire varies along its course
    at sites I have located to test the water, 1, 2,
    3 and 4 I will be also be looking into what (if
    any) effects the weather has on the results of
    water quality of the beck, as a further
    investigation done only on site 3.
  • There are four different factors that I will use
    to help determine the quality of the water in
    Austwick beck, they include
  • The Turbidity
  • The Temperature of the water
  • The levels of dissolved oxygen
  • And the pH of the water (the acidity or
    alkalinity)
  • I will now explain the meanings of these four
    variables and why they are vital for supporting
    life, over the next few pages.

3
The Turbidity
  • The Turbidity is the how we measure the clarity
    of the water, showing the amount of material,
    including dead matter, waste, the load that the
    beck carries in suspension and the amount of
    algae all of which can have different effects on
    the rivers precious ecosystem and other aspects
    of the river that have connections and
    consequences with and on the environment around
    it. For example, if the water clarity is very
    poor there will be less sunlight able to
    penetrate through to the oxygenating plants that
    need it to fuel photosynthesis, which provides
    oxygen for organisms that live in the water,
    which in turn feed or are needed by organisms
    higher up the food chain and in and out of the
    water. As you can see the Turbidity of the water
    is imperative for ecosystems to function properly
    and for food chains to remain intact.

4
The Temperature
  • Many aquatic animals are extremely sensitive to
    changes in temperature. They are used to natural
    changes in the temperature, for instance, when
    the sun is at its highest in the day, organisms
    are able to cope with the extra heat and also
    when it is night, they can survive the colder
    conditions. It is changes in the range of
    temperatures that can be catastrophic for life in
    the river if the temperature is over or under
    the specific levels for sustaining life for a
    long period of time, then many animals like fish
    become stressed and die, many will leave and
    plants will stop producing oxygen, killing the
    few remaining creatures that are left. Of course
    the temperature range of rivers vary from place
    to place and in different seasons, for which most
    the animals that live in them are adapted to.
    However, with urbanisation increasing, more and
    more factories, houses and other buildings that
    release warm water, toxic waste and dirty water
    are contributing to unnatural temperature
    fluctuations, endangering the ecosystem and
    animals that live within it.

5
The Saturation of Dissolved oxygen
  • The amounts of dissolved oxygen in rivers is
    extremely important to keeping the ecosystems
    within them healthy. Of course, all aquatic
    animals need oxygen to live and so without enough
    dissolved oxygen in the water, most of life would
    inevitably die. Many natural and human
    implications can cause the availability of
    dissolved oxygen to change, endangering the
    ecosystems that rely on it. When measuring
    dissolved oxygen, the main readings are ppm,
    parts per million or ppt, parts per thousand but
    it can sometimes shown as a percentage of
    saturation and this changes with the temperature
    of the water. For example, if the water is cold
    at 8 degrees Celsius, then the river may be able
    to hold up to 12 ppm (parts per million) of
    oxygen before it is saturated at 100 but if the
    water is at 28 C, the water will become 100
    saturated at 8 ppm a smaller amount of oxygen.
    So, as you can see, cold water can hold more
    oxygen that warm water. Fluctuations in the
    amount of dissolved oxygen can endanger plants
    and animals abilities to thrive in rivers, which
    could have repercussions back along the food
    chain and ecosystem. High levels of bacteria and
    large amounts of rotting material can cause these
    adverse affects and of course when the
    temperature fluctuates due to natural or
    unnatural causes, as was explained on the last
    page, the dissolved oxygen will too because not
    only does this reduce the amount of oxygen that
    can be stored by the water before it is fully
    saturated but also impacts on the producers of
    oxygen, the plants, and if they start dying and
    do not produce enough oxygen to keep other
    organisms alive, then the whole ecosystem breaks
    down and dies too.

6
The pH (the acidic or basic quality of the water)
  • Short for the potential of Hydrogen, the
    measurement of the pH of the water is based on a
    scale from 0 to 14. Any reading below 7 is acidic
    (0 being extremely acidic) and anything above 7
    is alkaline (being extremely basic), with 7 being
    neutral. Animals living in rivers are adapted to
    the pH of the river, and changes in this can be
    extremely detrimental to all life in the river.
    First of all, the average healthy pH range for
    aquatic animals to survive in is from 6.5 (being
    slightly acidic) to 8.0 (being slightly alkaline
    or basic). If the pH changes, animals can stop
    reproducing, move away from the area and of
    course, die. Changes in this can be brought about
    by many things, such as acid rain (atmospheric
    deposition), wastewater discharges and drainage
    from mines.

7
Introduction to Austwick beck
Austwick beck is situated in the Yorkshire dales,
in north-west England and runs through to the
river Wenning which in turn flows into the river
Lune.
8
This is a map of the course of Austwick beck. It
travels from the high ground at the first test
site, down through farmland and a few rapids to
the village of Austwick, where I live.
9
The beck starts off out of a cave at the head of
the beck, just before the first test site. Here
it travels relatively smoothly through
marshy/bog-like farmland (with livestock and no
tree cover), to the second test site.
Austwick beck head
10
When the second test site is reached, the
gradient increases slightly and there is a
miniature waterfall with rapids where it descends
a little faster. Here there is access for animals
and people and no tree cover.
11
There is a large gap between the 2nd and 3rd test
site where the river isnt accessible. And midway
between the two sites the beck levels out and
starts to meander after the 3rd test site through
where there are some small rapids too. Most of
the way along from where the beck planes out,
there are a lot of opportunities for livestock to
access the stream something that will be of
importance later on. The 3rd test site has a lot
of tree cover and there is access for people and
animals too.
12
  • At the 4th and last test site, the stream runs
    under a bridge after passing through some tree
    cover and land with livestock in. The actual test
    site has a little tree cover and is also
    accessible to people and animals. This is where I
    decided to stop following the course of the
    river, from here the beck runs into the river
    Wenning, joining at a confluence with two other
    becks, Fen beck and Clapham beck. The river
    Wenning eventually goes onto flow into the river
    Lune, which makes Austwick beck a tributary of a
    tributary of the river Lune.

13
Theories The Turbidity
  • Turbidity varies from place to place in rivers
    and can be caused by many different factors. For
    example areas that have higher amounts of
    livestock, people and other animals that are able
    to access the river, should have lower levels of
    clarity as the intrusion of animals and people
    will stir up the bed load of the river, leave
    faeces behind and drop material from elsewhere
    into the river. All this can cause the levels of
    turbidity to rise and of course, the type of
    weather present will also have an effect most
    likely to be that if there is rain and wind there
    will be more material stirred up by higher flows
    of water and more material deposited in the water
    by the wind (leaves, branches, etc.) and in
    sunny, calm conditions there will be a high
    clarity of water as there will be little to
    disturb the bed load or cloud the water with
    other materials. Low levels of turbidity are
    needed to support life too much and plants stop
    producing oxygen by way of photosynthesis as the
    area that sunlight can penetrate is reduced
    suffocating animals. In many cases rotting plants
    that cause some of the turbidity also increases
    the temperature of the water, which again has an
    impact on the amount of oxygen available and
    drives away aquatic animals which cannot adapt to
    the changes in the temperature.

14
Temperature
  • The temperature of the water will of course will
    vary in different weather conditions and
    according to the time of day. The water will
    normally be naturally cooler in the morning and
    at night than at midday and in the afternoon it
    will also be naturally cooler in the rain and
    wind than in the sun because the air temperature
    will become cooler in wet and cold weather and
    warmer in dry, sunny conditions. The humidity of
    the day will also change the temperature of the
    air and in turn that of the water, so the amount
    of cloud cover will also affect the temperature
    too. The amount of tree cover providing shade
    will also have an effect on the temperature of
    the water because the more shade and tree cover
    there is, the less heat there will be to warm the
    water and the lower the temperature of the water
    will be. Another factor is the amount of
    livestock nearby that have access to the water.
    More faeces will be produced and left to decay in
    the river as well as other decaying material such
    as plants and dead bodies of animals which may
    warm up the water. Factories and towns nearby may
    also have effects as drains, warm water
    discharges and other flows of water into rivers
    may lower or increase the temperature. Organisms
    rely on stability of natural temperature ranges
    that they have adapted to, to survive. If
    temperatures fluctuate too much, the amount of
    dissolved oxygen will decrease and will kill
    animals.

15
Dissolved oxygen
  • Higher levels of dissolved oxygen will normally
    be found by rapids or waterfalls where there are
    larger amounts of white water where air bubbles
    enter the waters surface and therefore increase
    the levels of oxygen present. However, areas of
    marsh and bog-land, the amount of dissolved
    oxygen found in the water there is naturally
    lower because there is naturally more decaying
    material (which is really micro-organisms feeding
    on dead material and because there is more dead
    material to be eaten and cleared away by them,
    they need more oxygen to do this, using up more
    oxygen and lowering the levels of it in the water
    in the process).
  • Plants are the main sources of dissolved oxygen
    and when they photosynthesis, more oxygen is
    produced. However the amount of plants that can
    photosynthesis changes due to other factors
    including the turbidity (the clearer, the more
    light for plants to produce oxygen), the
    temperature (higher temperature, normally more
    sunlight, more photosynthesis) and also the
    amount of toxic chemicals in the water (more
    waste, kills more plants, less oxygen from less
    plants). But of course dissolved oxygen can vary
    because it has a direct link with the temperature
    of the water so it will rise and fall in
    accordance. If the temperature is low then the
    amount of dissolved oxygen that can be dissolved
    below the saturation level will increase but when
    it warms up, the saturation level will be lowered
    and thus less oxygen will be dissolved, no matter
    if more plants are photosynthesising. Higher
    levels of dissolved oxygen mean more oxygen for
    organisms to survive on.

16
pH
  • The natural pH of a river is normally between
    6.5 8.0 on the scale of 0-14. This is the range
    that fish and other aquatic organisms prefer to
    live in. Any higher (more alkaline) or lower
    (more acidic) and the ecosystem will break down.

This has been seen in many areas of Scandinavia
where acid rain (atmospheric deposition coming
over from the U.K and other countries) is
decreasing the pH of the water in lakes, making
it more acidic and this is killing thousands of
fish. Towns and villages can also be affect the
pH of river by releasing wastewater from
factories and drains in mines. So a balanced pH
between 6.5 and 8.0 is essential for supporting
life in rivers.
17
Hypotheses for water quality on test sites 1, 2,
3 and 4
  • The Turbidity
  • I would expect to find higher levels of
    turbidity from samples in test sites 1 and 4
    whereas I would expect that test sites 2 and 3
    would have slightly lower levels (higher
    clarity). This is because sites 1 and 4 are
    nearest to places where animals are likely to
    enter the water and excrete waste, stir up some
    of the bed load, maybe trample in some material
    from the banks of the river and also deposit
    materials they have picked up on their body from
    elsewhere, thus reducing the clarity of the
    water. However in site 3 there is no area for
    livestock to enter the water there is access
    for people and other animals such as dogs and
    horses to enter, but they can only enter at least
    five or six metres down stream from the actual
    testing area so the next site downstream (site 4)
    is likely to pick up the material instead.

18
The same goes for site 2 where livestock cannot
enter, here however people and other animals can
enter the water upstream from the test area,
although I doubt that this will have much of an
effect on the overall turbidity as most of the
material that is deposited in the process will
probably be left on the rocks forming the
miniature waterfall/rapids. Therefore I predict
that the turbidity will be higher in places where
livestock have the most access to the specific
site livestock has the most access to the stream
at the start and finish of the stream section
that I am testing, so sites 1 and 4 (nearest in
terms of being downstream to livestock
hotspots) should have higher turbidity.
Site 4 has livestock grazing up stream so it
will therefore have a higher turbidity than
site 3 which is relatively free of livestock
and other animals
Site 4
Site 3
19
The Temperature
  • The temperature of the water will vary but will
    probably be generally low as the climate at this
    time of year for northern England is quite cold.
    Like I stated in the last paragraph, the amount
    of waste excreted by livestock on farmland may
    have an effect on some of the tests, in this case
    I would expect it to increase the temperature of
    samples from sites 1 and 4 slightly because they
    are the sites nearest (downstream) to where
    animals are likely to excrete waste which is
    going to increase the water because it has a
    higher temperature than the water itself. There
    have been quite a few sightings of fish and other
    cold-blooded animals in the river which indicates
    that the water is cold enough for them to live
    in. There have also been sighting of birds such
    as kingfishers, herons and dippers which feed on
    organisms in rivers. This indicates that the
    temperature of the water is the cold enough (but
    not too cold) to be able to support cold-blooded
    life and also plant life too as each part of the
    food chain must be functioning properly if all
    the organisms within it are healthy. The area
    around sites 3 and 4 (refer back to the maps in
    the introduction), are quite overgrown and
    shrouded by trees and plants this will cut off
    sunlight from heating the river but may also
    cause a higher humidity if it is already cloudy
    but mild so the effects that this may have on
    the temperature of the water are debatable as it
    all depends on the type of weather present.
    However on sites 1 and 2 it is quite easy to
    predict whether the temperature will be higher or
    lower in hot or cold weather because they are
    open and un-shaded this means that if the
    weather is warm and sunny, the water may be
    warmer, if it is cold and cloudy, then the water
    may be cooler.
  • Therefore, taking everything into account, I
    predict that the temperature of the water from
    sites 1 and 2 will be warmer than water from
    sites 3 and 4, that is, in warm weather. However,
    in cooler weather, I would not expect there to be
    a large difference in temperatures because the
    waste excreted by animals may level out the range
    of temperatures increasing site 1 and 4s
    temperatures but leaving site 2 and 3s around
    the same. The weather on the day of the tests
    will ultimately decide whether the temperature
    will be higher or lower but generally as I said,
    I would expect the weather to be cool as the
    climate is generally at this time of the year, so
    I would expect little, if any, difference in the
    temperatures of the water samples from different
    sites.
  •  

20
Dissolved oxygen
  • The amount of dissolved oxygen will probably be
    reasonably high for all sites because its
    getting quite cold up hills of the dales now its
    getting into autumn because cooler water holds
    more oxygen than warm water does. On the other
    hand, the days are getting shorter with less
    sunlight so there is less time for plants to
    photosynthesis, which also means that there is
    also less time for oxygen to be produced by the
    oxygenating plants in the beck which will the
    lower the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water
    even though the capacity that cold water can hold
    is high. However I suppose because the high
    ground nearer the head of the beck is more
    bog-like that it will have naturally low levels
    of dissolved oxygen than the ground lower down in
    the valley because of the naturally higher
    amounts of decaying matter including faeces from
    the livestock.

However, there is quite a lot of livestock on the
lower levels too, which may also lower the amount
of dissolved oxygen in those places, not only by
introducing more decaying matter but also by
heating up the river slightly by excreting waste
which is warmer than the waters temperature. The
waste from livestock may also encourage algae to
bloom, which may absorb most of the oxygen and
cut off light for plants slowing down the
process of photosynthesis or stopping it in some
places which will lower amount of dissolved
oxygen being produced and kept in the water.
Site 4
Livestock producing faeces, contributing to
higher turbidity and decreasing the amount of
dissolved oxygen
Algae encouraged to bloom by waste from
Livestock, which then uses up oxygen
21
Dissolved oxygen continued
  • I would expect to find higher levels of
    dissolved oxygen in the parts of the river where
    there are waterfalls or rapids as the water there
    will be travelling faster than in the other
    places in the river. This will mean the air
    particles hitting the water will be hitting it
    with much more force than normal (producing the
    noticeable white water where the air bubbles
    are travelling into the water because the water
    particles are hitting the air with more velocity)
    allowing more oxygen into the river than anywhere
    else, resulting in higher dissolved oxygen
    levels. Another factor in how the dissolved
    oxygen may vary in different parts of the river
    is the amount of tree or plant cover. The lower
    levels the 3rd and 4th test sites, (refer to
    maps) of the river become more overgrown and
    shrouded by trees, this will result in less
    sunlight getting through to the plants in the
    river, which in turn will mean that less oxygen
    is produced in photosynthesis by the plants as
    sunlight plays a key part in the process, so if
    you reduce sunlight you reduce photosynthesis and
    you reduce the amount of dissolved oxygen. So
    even though the water temperature may be lower
    because of the lack of heat from sunlight, and
    will therefore increase the amount of oxygen that
    it will be able carry before the saturation level
    is met, if the sunlight is not allowing plants to
    photosynthesis to produce oxygen then the levels
    of oxygen will remain low.
  • So overall taking into account of the
    temperature, the rivers features (small
    rapids/waterfalls/tree cover etc.) and the amount
    of time plants have for photosynthesising in the
    day, I would say that the stream will have a
    moderate-high amount of dissolved oxygen in the
    water but not in all places there should be
    higher concentrations near the rapids (site 2)
    and lower concentrations near where livestock are
    grazing by sites 1 and 4. So, the nearer to
    livestock and natural sources of decaying
    material the water is, the less oxygen there will
    be and the nearer (downstream) to rapids and
    waterfalls the water is the more oxygen there
    will be.

22
pH
On the higher levels of the river near the head
of the beck, the land becomes a bog which means
the water there should be naturally more acidic
because bogs are naturally acidic. The water in
the lower levels of the valley where the ground
is just normal farmland should have a more
neutral pH as there are no natural factors that
will change the acidity significantly.
Bog land Naturally acidic
Site 1 Water will therefore be acidic
There is no noticeable acid rain to cause the pH
of the water to decrease (in fact there is a
strong population of lichen in the area which
indicates that acid rain does not fall around
here, otherwise there would be no lichen as acid
rain is lethal to mosses such as lichen).
Therefore, I would expect the pH of the water in
sites 1 and 2 may be lower (more acidic) than in
sites 3 and 4 where the water should be more
neutral the nearer the naturally acidic bog the
site is, the more acidic the water will be.
23
Weather conditions
  • Turbidity
  • I would expect the turbidity of the water to
    increase in wet, windy weather because there
    would be more water flowing through the test area
    to stir up material from the banks, such as mud
    and soil, and also the bed load that the river is
    carrying. The wind would also blow in materials
    such as leaves and branches which would add to
    the high levels of turbidity. However in dry,
    sunny conditions or when it is cloudy and dry,
    there will be little to disturb the bed load or
    brush in material from the banks, resulting in
    lower levels of turbidity and higher levels of
    clarity. Therefore, I expect that the turbidity
    will be high in wet and windy weather whereas
    when it is dry, sunny or cloudy, the turbidity
    will be lower.
  • Temperature
  • The Temperature of the water will of course as
    I said in the last set of hypotheses vary
    depending on the weather. I would expect the
    temperature of the water to rise in warm weather,
    but fall in cooler weather when it rains or when
    there is a lot of cloud cover because the lower
    air temperature will force the water temperature
    down.

24
  • Dissolved oxygen
  • I would expect dissolved levels to increase when
    there is rain because as the rain drops into the
    water, it carries with it oxygen which adds to
    the amount already in the water. However in warm
    weather, more water is likely to evaporate and
    take away dissolved oxygen within the water
    vapour. With cloudy weather, I doubt the levels
    will change much and will probably stay at a
    moderate level. Therefore, the higher the
    temperature, the less oxygen there will be
    because some of the oxygen will be carried away
    with the evaporated water, however, the wetter
    and cooler the weather the more oxygen there will
    be as less of it will evaporate in water vapour
    and more will inputted into the stream through
    precipitation.
  • pH
  • I would expect little change in the pH during
    different types of weather conditions as the
    weather has little to do with the acidity of the
    water, apart from rain. It would however have
    more of an effect if acid rain was common but as
    there is little, if any, acid rain in the
    Yorkshire dales (proven by the large amount of
    lichen here) I do not see how the weather
    conditions will have any affect on the waters
    pH. Therefore, I do not predict any change in the
    pH in different weather conditions.

25
Methods for tests
For the weather condition tests, I used site 3
only as this was the site closest and most
conveniently positioned from where I could easily
see what the weather was going to be like I went
out and collected the data on different days when
the weather conditions varied the most. The water
quality tests for the whole river were all
performed on the same day so that varying weather
conditions that may affect the results (something
which I wanted to investigate in the other tests
on site 3), would not be present to interfere
with the accuracy of the results.
  • Overall equipment needed
  • A ruler,
  • Rubber gloves,
  • A watch or timer,
  • A world water monitoring day kit, (which
    includes container for collecting samples,
    adhesive Secchi disk, turbidity/pH/oxygen ppm
    chart, two adhesive thermometers (high and low
    temperatures), test sample vial, test tube,
    TesTabs tablets for dissolved oxygen and pH
    tests, booklet for information and recording
    data).

26
Turbidity test
  • Collection procedure
  • Remove the cap of sampling jar.
  • Wear protective gloves. Rinse the jar 2-3 times
    with the stream water.
  • Hold the jar near the bottom and plunge it below
    the water surface.
  • Turn the submerged jar into the current and away
    from you.
  • Allow the water to flow into the jar for 30
    seconds.
  • Cap the full jar while it is still submerged.
    Remove it from the river immediately.
  • Equipment
  • Adhesive Secchi disk, turbidity chart and kit
    sampling jar.
  • Method
  • Remove the backing from the Secchi disk icon
    sticker.
  • Adhere on the bottom of the kit container.
    Position the sticker slightly off centre. If
    possible adhere to the jar 8-24 hours before use
    to allow the adhesive to cure.
  • Fill the jar to the turbidity line located on the
    label as in the collection procedure (see last
    page).
  • Hold the turbidity chart on the top edge of the
    jar looking down into the jar, compare the
    appearance of the Secchi disk icon in the jar to
    the chart. Record the result as turbidity in JTU.

27
Temperature test
  • Equipment
  • Sampling jar with thermometers adhered onto it,
    ruler and timer.
  • Method
  • Wear protective gloves
  • Place thermometer four inches below the water
    surface for one minute.
  • Remove the thermometer from the water, read the
    temperature and record the temperature as degrees
    Celsius.

28
Dissolved oxygen test
  • Equipment
  • Sampling jar with thermometers, small vial,
    timer, two Dissolved Oxygen TesTabs, dissolved
    oxygen chart and booklet table to determine
    saturation level.
  • Method
  • Record the temperature of the water sample
  • Submerge the small vial (0125) into the water
    sample. Carefully remove the vial from the water
    sample, keeping it full to the top.
  • Drop two Dissolved Oxygen TesTabs (3976A) into
    the vial. Water will overflow when the tablets
    are added.

4. Screw the cap on the vial. more water will
overflow as the cap is tightened. Make sure no
bubbles are present in the sample.
5. Mix by inverting the vial over and over until
the tablets have disintegrated. This will take
about 4 minutes. 6. Wait 5 more minutes for the
colour to develop. 7. Compare the colour of the
sample to the dissolved oxygen colour chart.
Record the result as ppm dissolved oxygen.
29
pH test
  • Equipment
  • Test tube, one pH wide range TesTab and pH chart.
  • Method
  • Fill the test tube(0106 to the 10ml line with the
    water sample.
  • Add one pH wide range TesTab (6459A).
  • Cap and mix by inverting until the tablet has
    disintegrated. Bits of the material may remain in
    the sample.
  • Compare the colour of the sample with the pH
    colour chart. Record result as pH.

30
Results of tests in different weather conditions
31
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34
The results of water quality on sites 1, 2, 3 and
4. The Turbidity
35
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38
Conclusions for weather conditions
  • Turbidity Hypothesis
  • I expect that the turbidity will be high in wet
    and windy weather whereas when it is dry, sunny
    or cloudy, the turbidity will be lower.
  • Conclusion
  • The hypothesis was shown to be true as the
    results show no turbidity at all in dry, cloudy
    and sunny condition but moderate levels in wet
    and windy weather. So therefore it is true to say
    that wet weather will affect the turbidity of the
    water by increasing the turbidity by increasing
    the amount of material in suspension and also
    material in the bed load. Dry or sunny weather
    without rain will have no affect on the tests.
  • Graph on p29

39
  • Temperature hypothesis
  • I would expect the temperature of the water to
    rise in warm weather, but fall in cooler weather
    when it rains or when there is a lot of cloud
    cover because the lower air temperature will
    force the water temperature down.
  • Conclusion
  • The graph shows that this is true, the
    temperature rose to 12 degrees Celsius in warm
    sunny weather when the temperature was higher
    than in cold, cloudy weather with precipitation
    when the air temperature was lower at 10 and 8
    degrees Celsius. It also shows that the direct
    link between the temperature of the air with the
    temperature of the water is true, and that when
    the air temperature rises the waters temperature
    will too and vice versa. So if there was rain on
    the day of the experiment, you should expect to
    find lower temperatures and vice versa in dry and
    sunny conditions depending on the air
    temperature.
  • Graph on p30

40
  • Dissolved oxygen hypothesis
  • The higher the temperature, the less oxygen
    there will be because some of the oxygen will be
    carried away with water vapour that the heat in
    warm weather evaporates however, the wetter and
    cooler the weather the more oxygen there will be
    because less will evaporate in water vapour as
    there is less heat for evaporation to take place
    and more will be inputted into the stream through
    precipitation.
  • Conclusion
  • The hypothesis was proved to be incorrect
    because the ppm levels of each sample in
    different weathers were found to be equal, all
    reading at 8 ppm. Moreover, the dissolved oxygen
    saturation levels on the graph actually rose in
    warmer weather rather cooler, however, this
    doesnt really show that the hypothesis was wrong
    because the ppm levels were all the same which
    means that the only reason why the saturation
    levels differed was because of the temperature
    not the actual amount of oxygen in the water. The
    kit I used only gave 3 readings of ppm for
    dissolved oxygen 0 ppm, 4 ppm and 8 ppm which
    only shows whether the water contained poor, fair
    or good amounts of oxygen. Therefore, the kit
    isnt very accurate for measuring higher levels
    of dissolved oxygen from the water and if a more
    sophisticated means of measuring the dissolved
    oxygen was used then differences may have been
    seen that might have supported or disagreed with
    the hypothesis so the overall results should be
    seen as inconclusive.
  • Graph on p31

41
  • pH hypothesis
  • I do not see how the weather conditions will
    have any affect on the waters pH therefore, I
    do not predict any change in the pH in different
    weather conditions.
  • Conclusion
  • The results show that the hypothesis was
    correct, all samples in different weather
    conditions had a pH of 8. This shows the weather
    does not have any affect on the weather in this
    area but I should note that in areas with regular
    amounts of acid rain, the result would probably
    change and cause the water to become more acidic
    in wet conditions when precipitation would bring
    in acidic substances produced by air pollution
    from factories.
  • Graph on p32

42
Conclusions for tests on sites 1, 2, 3 and 4
  • Turbidity hypothesis
  • I predict that the turbidity will be higher in
    places where livestock have the most access to
    the specific site livestock has the most access
    to the stream at the start and finish of the
    stream section that I am testing, so sites 1 and
    4 (nearest in terms of being downstream to
    livestock hotspots) should have higher
    turbidity.
  • Conclusion
  • The results show that the hypothesis was very
    accurate, sites 1 and 4 had equal amounts of
    turbidity and were at higher levels than sites 2
    and 3 which had no measurable turbidity. This
    shows that it is true to say that livestock does
    have an impact on the turbidity of water and the
    closer a test site is (downstream) to an area
    which has a large amount of livestock that can
    access the river, the higher the turbidity will
    be and vice versa.
  • Graph on p33

43
  • Temperature hypothesis
  • I predict that the temperature of the water from
    sites 1 and 2 will be warmer than water from
    sites 3 and 4, that is, in warm weather. However,
    in cooler weather, I would not expect there to be
    a difference in temperatures because the waste
    excreted by animals may level out the range of
    temperatures increasing sites 1 and 4s
    temperatures but leaving sites 2 and 3s around
    the same. The weather on the day of the tests
    will ultimately decide whether the temperature
    will be higher or lower but generally as I said,
    I would expect the weather to be cool as the
    climate is generally at this time of the year, so
    I would expect little, if any, difference in the
    temperatures of the water samples from different
    sites.
  • Conclusion
  • The day of the experiment was a cool, dry and
    cloudy day which meant if the hypothesis was
    true, then the water samples from each site would
    not differ by much at all. Looking at the
    results, the range (from the lowest to the
    highest) of temperatures was no more than 2
    degrees Celsius and showed there was little
    difference in the temperatures, proving the
    hypothesis true in this aspect. The hypothesis
    was also shown to be accurate by predicting
    correctly that sites 1 and 4 would have warmer
    levels than sites 2 and 3 because of livestock
    activity upstream the weather was cool so there
    was little heat to make a difference between the
    temperatures of the shaded and un-shaded areas
    and this allowed the theory of how livestock
    could increase the temperature in different ways
    to raise the temperatures of sites 1 and 4 above
    those of 2 and 3, regardless of whether they were
    shaded or not. So overall, the hypothesis was
    shown to be true in cool weather.
  • Graph on p34

44
  • Dissolved oxygen hypothesis
  • There should be higher concentrations near the
    rapids (at site 2) and lower concentrations near
    where livestock are grazing (by sites 1 and 4).
    So, the nearer to livestock and natural sources
    of decaying material the water is, the less
    oxygen there will be and the nearer (downstream)
    to rapids and waterfalls the water is the more
    oxygen there will be.
  • Conclusion
  • Interestingly, the results showed that there was
    no difference in the results for ppm, they were
    all at maximum ppm level for the test, but the
    saturation levels differed slightly but because
    all the sites had the same amounts of oxygen,
    this has little meaning in order to say whether
    one site is healthier than another.

45
  • Conclusion continued
  • The fact that the kit that was used only
    measured up to 8 ppm in testing meant that the
    results could only determine whether a site had a
    good, fair or poor amount of dissolved oxygen and
    if a more broad test was used then the results
    may have differed and helped to shed some light
    on whether the hypothesis was accurate or not.
    However, if the same results were obtained with
    improved testing, then there are some
    explanations listed below to show reasons why the
    levels of oxygen were equal
  • There may have been an error in the testing
    process,

Moss is present on the rocks which will fall
into the river and decay like other materials
from the banks of the river lowering the amount
of dissolved oxygen
  • There were noticeable amounts of decaying
    matter on the river bed when I started to test
    the 2nd site (which I had not expected to find
    until I got there) and this may have neutralised
    the amount of oxygen that was added to the water
    through white water from the waterfall/rapids
    upstream and caused the amounts of oxygen to
    decrease to the levels of the other sites that
    didnt have white water,
  • The river had enough places where white
    water may have occurred that were inaccessible
    and out-of-view which may have made other test
    sites levels of dissolved oxygen equal to those
    of site 2 because they had in fact, equal amounts
    of white water.
  • Graph on p35

46
  • pH hypothesis
  • I would expect the pH of the water in sites 1
    and 2 to be lower (more acidic) than that of
    sites 3 and 4 where the water should be more
    neutral the nearer the water is to a naturally
    acidic area, the more acidic it will be.
  • Conclusion
  • The results did not really agree with the
    hypothesis in this case, as the sites nearly had
    all the same results of 8 pH with only site 1
    having a result of 7.5 pH, only slightly
    different. The results did show that site one, in
    the bog where the ground is naturally acidic, was
    more acidic than the other sites but only by a
    small margin and even then it wasnt even acidic,
    it was between neutral and slightly basic on the
    pH scale. One reason for this that was not
    acknowledged in the hypothesis is that the area
    around the test site is made up of limestone
    pavements and rocks such as sandstone which all
    share one characteristic, they can change the pH
    of water to a more alkaline one.

Limestone escarpment, rain percolates through
and becomes alkaline, groundwater or subsurface
flow then runs into river
47
  • With precipitation percolating into these rocks
    (limestone pavements are on the surface so
    percolation is sometimes experienced before
    infiltration) and also runoff flowing into the
    river over these rocks, the waters pH would have
    been changed by their alkaline properties to
    become more basic than preciously thought.
    However, the naturally acidic bog and soil around
    the area would have then lowered the pH from a
    higher basic level to only a slightly basic one.
    The lower areas may have also had their pH
    reduced to only a slightly alkaline level by
    acidic substances, like pesticides and
    fertilisers, introduced by livestock and
    biological factors. So, all in all, the
    hypothesis seems to have overlooked some factors
    such as the pH properties of local rocks which
    water would have had to pass through to get to
    the river, and has therefore been shown to be
    inaccurate in some ways. Graph on p36

Limestone and other alkaline rocks increase pH
then acidic soil from the bog reduces pH to
create slightly alkaline water
48
Overall conclusion for Austwick beck
  • The tests showed that in all parameters, the
    water in Austwick beck is of a sufficient quality
    to sustain a healthy amount of biodiversity to
    keep the ecosystems functioning at healthy levels
    the dissolved oxygen was at maximum levels on
    the testing scale, the pH was in the boundaries
    of the range that aquatic animals prefer to live
    in, the turbidity was low and in some places
    non-existent which is good for plants and animals
    and the temperature was at a stable level to
    support the ecosystem around it and can relied
    upon to remain that way seeing as the area it is
    situated in is quite rural and unlikely to see
    much more urbanisation or increased amounts of
    pollution.

The beck was also shown to be fortunate enough to
remain relatively unscathed by pollution and
other adverse factors that are brought on and
created by man, as it tumbles through beautiful
and rich countryside in the safety of the
Yorkshire dales national park where the
authorities and environment agencies are very
protective of everything within it, including
Austwick beck.
49
Overall conclusion for the effect the weather has
on the water quality
  • Overall, the weather was shown to have some
    effects on the results of water quality but not
    in all parameters. The pH and dissolved oxygen
    content (the dissolved oxygen content was
    debatable as stated previously, the test was not
    very specific or exact in its measurements for
    oxygen) of the water did not change because of
    the weather but in the temperature and turbidity
    tests, as expected, the results were varied. It
    is safe to conclude then, that for turbidity and
    temperature tests, that the weather condition
    that has the most bearing on the results
    collected is rain and wind with extensive cloud
    cover.

50
Evaluation
  • Overall I feel the data collection in the field
    and when writing up the results went very well
    most of the results agreed with their
    hypothesise, the kit proved simple, easy and
    effective to use and the whole experiment was
    very enjoyable and still feels like a great
    success.
  • However, I do think that there were a few areas
    that could have been improved, that is, if more
    time or resources were at hand, these include
  • The kit was simple to use and effective in most
    ways, however, I feel that the kit in some ways,
    gave vague results, such as with the dissolved
    oxygen test, which produced the same results of 8
    ppm when in fact the ppm scale can go up as high
    as 16. If some more advanced testing apparatus
    was used to do this test again then I expect the
    results would have been more accurate and would
    have helped to conclude how dissolved oxygen
    changes in places along the beck.
  • Also when the testing was actually performed,
    only one test per variable per test site was
    achieved because of lack of time to walk to each
    site (there was also a delay on the day of the
    tests when 2 of the original 6 sites where found
    to be privately owned and this therefore used up
    a lot of valuable time spent walking to these
    sites), the overall walking distance was around 5
    miles (including the detour when 2 of the 6 sites
    were found to be private) which had to be covered
    on foot while at each site testing for each
    parameter. If there were more people to help me,
    apart from my poor brother who was dragged
    out(!), then more sites could have been tested
    more than once because we could have concentrated
    our efforts on one or two specific sites per
    person. If tests were done more than once three
    times would have been the most efficient and
    the results totalled and divided by however many
    tests (e.g. pH 8 6 7 21/3 7 average pH
    for site) to find the average which then would
    have given a more accurate and reliable spread of
    results.

51
Evaluation continued
  • So overall the two investigations proved very
    successful although as with any experiments and
    projects, some adjustments and improvements could
    have been made to ensure even more accurate and
    reliable results but I am pleased with these
    results considering the amount of time and
    resources I had.

Thanks for reading!
Special thanks I would like to say thank you to
my younger brother Scott in helping me collect
the results, my whole family in helping me in
many areas of this exercise and to Sword
Scientific ltd who supplied the equipment.
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