Water Pollution

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Study of Water Pollution in Mudlick Creek

Water pollution is any chemical, physical or biological change in the quality of water that has a harmful effect on humans who consumes the water or aquatic life which lives in the water. Water pollution is one of the major problems the world is facing today. Polluted water is the root cause of many illnesses and ecological imbalances. The sources of water pollution maybe grouped into two main categories: direct and indirect contaminant sources. Indirect sources of water pollution include contaminants that enter the water supply from soils/groundwater systems and from the atmosphere via rainwater. The objective of this research paper is to understand water pollution in the Mudlick Creek due to water runoff caused by rainfall. Water samples were taken from the creek before and after rainfall. Common water quality parameters were measured to determine if rainfall had any effect on water pollution. pH and Dissolved Oxygen levels of the creek appear to be unaffected by the runoff from rainwater. However, turbidity of the creek has significantly increased. The results show that rainfall has an effect on water pollution in Mudlick Creek.


“Water pollution is any chemical, physical or biological change in the quality of water that has a harmful effect on any living thing that drinks or uses or lives (in) it” (“Water Pollution FAQ”). Direct contaminant sources of water pollution include industrial waste from factories, oil refineries and chemical processing plants that is released into the water system. Even though there are regulations in place to protect water supplies, varying degrees of undesired pollutants make their way into our water systems such as rivers, lakes and creeks. Indirect contaminant sources cannot be traced to a specific location. Acid depositions from air, traffic and pollutants that enter the water through runoff from rains are some examples of indirect contaminant sources (“Rubin”). Indirect contaminant sources are hard to control because the perpetrators cannot be traced. Due to urbanization, more and more roads, pavements and other forms of hard surfaces are built because of which even light to moderate showers cause rainwater runoff. Rainwater picks up fertilizers and pesticides from lawns and backyards of homes. Rainwater also carries petroleum substances from roads and streets before making its way into the water system (“Water Pollution FAQ”). Mudlick Creek is a small right-hand branch of Roanoke River in Roanoke County (Gannet 104). Internet search revealed that a project by name Mudlick Creek Project was undertaken by the Roanoke County to fight pollution of the creek (“Lowe”). The author is a resident of Roanoke County and the creek runs by the high school the author attends. The author was interested in finding out whether rainwater washes harmful chemicals and materials into the creek. If rainwater washed pollutants into the creek, then water quality measurements on water samples taken from the creek after a rainfall would indicate higher levels of water pollution. Methods & Materials

Good water quality is important for supporting aquatic life as well as humans. Some aquatic creatures can adapt to a wide range of water conditions while some are very sensitive to water quality. Water for human consumption needs to meet rigorous quality criteria. Water quality factors used in this study are – Turbidity: Turbidity affects light’s ability to pass through water. Turbidity is due to suspended particles in water. Turbidity could result in lower oxygen level in the water. Measurement procedure:

i. A Secchi disk decal was adhered to the inside bottom of a transparent jar. ii. The jar was filled up to the turbidity line with water from Mudlick Creek by Hidden Valley High School. iii. After water in the jar settled, the appearance of the Secchi disk was compared to standard turbidity reference chart and the...
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