GIS EVALUATION OF POTENTIAL IMPACTS TO WATER QUALITY, OAK ORCHARD CREEK WATERSHED, NEW YORK
Snap shot water sampling was conducted in the spring of 2005. Water samples were analyzed for major cations and anions and trace elements using ICP-AES and ion chromatography. Samples were found to have concentrations of total phosphorous, nitrate and in some locations sulfate above recommended levels, ranging up to 2.1mg/L, 9.1 mg/L and 1066 mg/L, respectively. This poses several potential health risks for the stream including clogging navigable waters with aquatic plants and algae, and the potential for decreases in dissolved oxygen.
GIS is being used to identify potential problems in the watershed. GIS is useful because it illustrates trends and demonstrates patterns, and enables query and analysis by linking tabular and spatial data. By using GIS it is possible to develop relationships between land use and water quality issues in the watershed. In using GIS it is possible to identify threats through a screening process and enables decision making to focus in on water quality hotspots. An example of the analysis completed indicated a relationship between high levels of sulfate in stream water and an abandoned gypsum mining operation.