Water Chemistry of Furman Lake Streams
Grace Flowers, Matt Medlin, Anna Leff, and Matt Aussprung
We studied the chemical and physical properties of streams that feed into Furman
Lake. The River Basins Research Imitative (RBRI) has dedicated itself to accumulating
data on the chemistry streams to observe the differences between rural and urban
streams. Our group was able to add our samples to years’ worth of data for comparison,
and postulate how the stream chemistry affects Furman Lake. We hypothesize that
the more urbanized North Village inlet stream would have a higher concentration
of ions than the rural, forested inlet stream due to human impact.
Streams contain ions such as nitrate, phosphate, and chlorine. These ions are
present for various reasons. Typically, ion concentrations are higher in urban
areas than in rural areas, but there are natural sources of these ions. Ammonium
is the product of decaying organic matter. It is nitrified to form nitrate and
then denitrified to form nitrite and nitrous oxide gas (Clinton 2006). Ammonium,
nitrate, and nitrite, as well as phosphorus, can all stimulate algal growth
and eutrophication (Anderson 2002). Nixon (1995) defined eutrophication as “an
increase in the rate of supply of organic matter to an ecosystem.” Eutrophication
is a major concern in aquatic ecosystems with increased human impact. Nitrate
levels were higher in the urban stream than the rural one (Table 1), consistent
with the greater human activity. Nitrite and phosphate levels for all samples
were very low or below detection in both locations. Ammonium concentrations,
however, showed no significant differences between the streams. Contrary to
our hypothesis, chlorine, sulfate and bromine concentrations were significantly
higher in the rural stream; however, these could be from a mineral spring feeding
into the rural stream. Because of the higher ion concentrations in the rural
stream, conductivity was also higher in this location. Phosphate levels were
almost always below detection in the two streams, so we were unable to determine
if there were any significant differences between the two locations. In conclusion,
the two streams differed significantly in their ion profiles, suggesting that
different natural and anthropogenic factors may be influencing each stream.
Table 1. Physical and chemical properties of stream water from urban and rural
sites in the Furman inlet streams.
||Statistically Significant Results
||U=197, df=1, p<0.05
||t=-8.84, df=13, p<0.0001
||U=131, df=1, p<0.05
||t=12.48, df=21, p<0.0001
||U=66, df=1, p<0.0001
Anderson DM, Glibert PM, Burkholder JM. 2002. Harmful algal blooms and eutrophication:
sources, compostion, and consequences. Estuaries. 25:704-726.
Clinton BD, Vose JM. 2006. Variation in stream water quality in an urban headwater
stream in the
southern Appalachians. Water Air Soil Pollut. 169:331-353.
Nixon SW. 1995. Coastal marine eutrophication: a definition, social causes,
and future concerns.