Water Quality Parameters

We have graphed the following parameters.

      • Conductivity –   Conductivity is a measure of water’s capability to pass electrical flow. This ability is directly related to the concentration of ions in the water. These conductive ions come from dissolved salts and inorganic materials such as alkalis, chlorides, sulfides and carbonate compounds. It is an indicator of road salt runoff. Freshwater streams ideally should have a conductivity between 150 to 500 µS/cm to support diverse aquatic life.
      • Temperature – Water temperature is affected by air temperature, stormwater runoff, groundwater inflows, turbidity, and exposure to sunlight. In considering the health of organisms, it is necessary to consider their maximum temperature and optimum temperature. The maximum temperature is the highest water temperature at which the organism will live for a few hours. The Carp River is considered a “warm water” river and thus cannot support “cold water” fish such as trout. Poole Creek is considered TBD.
      • pH – pH is a measure of a solution’s acidity. A measurement of “7” is neutral; below “7” is acidic and above “7” is alkaline. The largest variety of freshwater aquatic organisms prefer a pH range between 6.5 to 8.0.
      • Chlorine – Chlorine is a greenish-yellow gas that dissolves easily in water. Free chlorine (chlorine gas dissolved in water) is toxic to fish and aquatic organisms, even in very small amounts. Chlorine becomes more toxic as the pH level of the water drops. And it becomes even more toxic when it is combined with other toxic substances such as cyanides, phenols and ammonia.
        • 006 mg/L: Kills trout fry in two days.
        • 01 mg/L: Recommended maximum for all fish and aquatic life.
        • 02 mg/L: Maximum brook and brown trout can survive.
      • Dissolved O2 – Dissolved oxygen is oxygen gas molecules (O2) present in the water. Plants and animals cannot directly use the oxygen that is part of the water molecule, instead depending on dissolved oxygen for respiration. Oxygen enters streams from the surrounding air and as a product of photosynthesis from aquatic plants.  Consistently high levels of dissolved oxygen are best for a healthy ecosystem. Human factors that affect dissolved oxygen in streams include addition of oxygen consuming organic wastes such as sewage, addition of nutrients, changing the flow of water, raising the water temperature, and the addition of chemicals.  Dissolved oxygen is measured in mg/L.
        • 0-2 mg/L: not enough oxygen to support life.
        • 2-4 mg/L: only a few fish and aquatic insects can survive.
        • 4-7 mg/L: good for many aquatic animals, low for cold water fish
        • 7-11 mg/L: very good for most stream fish
      • Turbidity – Turbidity is a measure of how particles suspended in water affect water clarity. It is an important indicator of suspended sediment and erosion levels. Typically it will increase sharply during and after a rainfall, which causes sediment to be carried into the creek. Elevated turbidity will also raise water temperature, lower dissolved oxygen, prevent light from reaching aquatic plants which reduces their ability to photosynthesize, and harm fish gills and eggs.
      • E. coli – The presence of fecal coliform bacteria in aquatic environments indicates that the water has been contaminated with the fecal material of man or other animals such as livestock. The sampling for E. coli is complex, but the Guidelines for Canadian Recreational Water Quality state that the maximum should not exceed 2000 E. coli/ L or 200 E. coli/100 ml (the units shown in the graphs).

The descriptions above are taken from: