Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Canoe Trip on the Chicago River

Our junior class of IGSS rowed for 3+ hours on the Chicago River with social studies teacher Colby Vargas and science teacher David Rafferty-Flatter. The purpose was to collect/test water samples at four points along the river while observing wildlife and industry along the way. Blessed with beautiful weather, we were able to view ducks, geese, and even a turtle sunning along the shores.

Chicago Water Quality Tests
Each test will be done with the 4 samples collected on Monday.

  • Ammonia Nitrate - nitrates in conjunction with phosphates stimulate the growth of algae
  • pH - solutions in pH range of 4-9 are not considered hazardous
  • Chlorine -disinfecting agent
  • Chromium - enters a water supply through discharges of industrial wastes - potential carcinogen
  • Copper - essential element to the human body; large does are harmful, causing liver damage
  • Cyanide - extremely toxic - found in water containing waste from metal finishing
  • Iron - high levels indicate water contaminated by acid mine wastes
  • Phosphorous - stimulates the growth of algae
  • Silica - some scientists prefer not to see this in water
  • Sulfide - rotten egg ordor in high concentrations

Students noticed that water closer to the city center smelled better and has less toxic chemicals in it.

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