Southeastern Section - 54th Annual Meeting (March 17–18, 2005)

Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


PERKINS, Arianna, Physics and Geology, Northern Kentucky Univ, Highland Heights, KY 41099 and BOATENG, Samuel, Physics and Geology, Northern Kentucky Univ, SC 251, Highland Heights, KY 41099,

Water quality has been an issue of concern in the United States since the Environmental Protection Agency passed the Water Quality Act. Increased sedimentation into small streams is now more closely monitored to ensure that chemical balances affecting life systems are not negatively altered.

A channel was cut into Woolper Creek in western Boone County, Kentucky, and the dredge material was placed on a hill overlooking the creek just north of Split Rock Conservation Park. It is now slowly eroding back into the creek but a retention pond was designed and built to retain some of this eroding material. This study was designed as a preliminary investigation into the health of downstream Woolper Creek near Split Rock Conservation Park and to assess whether or not the retention pond is performing as expected. We hypothesized that there would be no significant difference in water chemistry between sites upstream of the sediment dump and downstream of the sediment dump. We established four testing sites and monitored the following parameters: oxidation-reduction potential (ORP), pH, conductivity, chloride concentration, nitrate concentration, phosphate concentration, and iron concentration. Samples were collected seven times over a period of two months. Two samples were taken following major precipitation events (> 2”/day) in order to record any measurable changes in water quality presumably due to increased sediment load from the eroding dredge materials.

We can conclude that precipitation events may have played a role in influencing water chemistry downstream of the sediment dump. Further study of this area is needed to determine whether or not the sediment erosion is detrimental to the ecosystem of Woolper Creek. There have not been any studies on the biota of this creek nor have there been any studies to determine the rate of sedimentation and turbidity measurements of upper and lower Woolper Creek. These data, used along with the findings of this study, would be important in making recommendations for possible remediation of the sediment dump area and redesign of the retention pond.