Water Quality and Types of Water

There are plenty of sources of water on the earth and only 3 percent of it is fresh. Human beings need freshwater to survive, so how are we supposed to tell if the water is clean enough to drink? By looking at the macroinvertebrates that reside in the water. Macroinvertebrates are the spineless insects that live in the water. Based on the macroinvertebrates that live in the water, we can tell how clean or how polluted the water really is. Macroinvertebrates are important to the aquatic life because many predators rely on them to survive, as they are at the bottom of the stream ecosystem. 

Macroinvertebrates

The macroinvertebrates can tell us about the type of water there is in a system or body of water. Could the water be dirty? Is it clean enough to drink? Could it hold a new species? Is it bearable for aquatic life to live in it? By taking a close look at the macroinvertebrates, we can determine the health of the water. Say if we were to find macroinvertebrates like a leech or aquatic worms, we can infer that the water quality is poor because those insects are fairly and very tolerant to the pollution that can be found in the water, meaning that they have a high chance of survival in unhealthy water. But, if we found macroinvertebrates like the dragonfly nymph and clams, we can say that the water quality is good because these insects are very sensitive to the pollutants in water, meaning that the water they are found in is fairly clean.

There are many things that go into the development and changes of a systems water quality. Climate change, runoff, rain, and plenty more. Runoff from businesses can flow into the stream, affecting the natural balances of the water.

In this lab, we looked at the different type of macroinvertebrates in an unknown water sample to determine if the water sample is fairly clean or polluted. Identifying the macroinvertebrates can let us know their correlation with a streams water quality. By completing this study, we’re trying to heighten our skills to fully understand how to determine the water quality without completing all of the tests. Based on the macroinvertebrates, dragonfly and water boatmen, we can see that the water is fairly polluted due to the macros falling in the tolerant to very tolerant tolerance levels.

Methods

For this lab, we tested the chemical properties of the unknown water sample, after identifying the macroinvertebrates that stayed in the water. The chemical properties tested were low and high range pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphates, and total dissolved solutes. Before we started testing, we filled the test tubes with the unknown sample's water. To test the unknown water pH levels, we used one of the test tubes that were filled with water and added drops of the solution into the tubes to determine the levels of pH. An ammonia test was added to the water to test the levels of excreting left behind by the fish. We had to wait five minutes before reading the results of the test. A phosphate test will let us know how the water will age and at what pace. With a lot of phosphates, the water can quickly transition to eutrophication