Rainwater Polluted Lab Report

Superior Essays
Introduction

Water is everywhere, from our oceans to the pond at your local park. These sources like the pond are considered freshwater ecosystem. Water is a neutral compound, meaning that in its natural state, it is neither acidic nor basic and has a pH of 7. However, water is subject to pollution and can easily be polluted by acidic compounds. And when you live in an area with a refinery, the surrounding waters can be very polluted. For this lab, we will test the various freshwater sources around Madison County and determine whether they are polluted or not.

Literature Review

One thing to consider with freshwater is its pH (which is short for power of hydrogen). A water source’s pH can determine whether it is acidic or basic; a pH number
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Pure water always has a pH of 7, making it neutral. However, water does not always come in this state and various things pollute it. Rain, for example, can decrease a freshwater source’s pH. Unpolluted rainwater has a pH of 5.6 because to the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (Acids…). However, this is the pH of the water as it falls. In the atmosphere, it has not come into contact with materials like carbonate or limestone, which are prevalent in freshwater (Kemker). Carbonate and limestone are buffers that increase the alkalinity of water (which means it’s more basic). Rain can get even more acidic than that, especially when pollutants like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides come into contact with it (Acids…). Other natural sources like lightning and volcanic ash can reduce the pH of the water as well. Furthermore, man-made pollutants can do its number on the pH. Industrial plants that mine and smelt high-sulfur ores or combust fossil fuels pollute the sky with high amounts of sulfur and nitrogen oxides, which lead to acid rain (Acids…). These influences can change the pH to be over or below the recommended levels of 6.0 and 9.0 (Kemker). When the pH becomes lower than 6, plankton and mosses begin to invade the source and fishes like the smallmouth bass disappear (Acids…). Once the …show more content…
Things other than nitrate pollution, however, can cause dissolved oxygen and it can be its own, independent issue in the source. Dissolved oxygen is special, as it is non-compound oxygen molecules, or O2, within water. The oxygen molecule bonded with the hydrogen that makes water does not count toward these levels, only the O2 molecules (Kemker, “Dissolved…”). Fish and other aquatic life use it for respiration, and plants need it when no light is present for photosynthesis. As previously mentioned, dissolved oxygen is caused not just by nitrate pollution, but also by many other sources. Algae and other plants release oxygen during photosynthesis, where it is dissolved into the water. Oxygen from the atmosphere can also get into the freshwater, where it will dissolve and mix with the water molecules (Dissolved Oxygen). The previous process is a slow diffusion, but air can be mixed quickly through aeration-which can be either natural or man-made. Any form of running water: whether rapids, ground water discharge, or anything that generates waves can cause aeration. As for man-made aeration, an air pump or a hand-turned waterwheel can dissolve oxygen into the source (Kemker). The affect these factors have on the water is entirely dependent on the solubility of the water, however. The solubility decreases as the temperature increases. This high temperature limits the amount of oxygen that can be

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