Paper No. 42
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
EVALUATION OF WATER QUALITY CONCERNS IN A WESTERN SECTION OF THE ERIE CANAL
Water quality within the Erie Canal is often considered by the public to be poor; however, previous sampling has not shown problems with typical water quality parameters with the exception of turbidity in some areas. A long-term monitoring program has been initiated to investigate variations in common water quality parameters at Brockport, NY located between locks 33 and 34, west of Rochester, NY. Sampling occurs daily with field analysis for pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature and conductivity at 1-meter intervals from the surface to the bottom at 3.8 meters. A single grab sample is collected and returned for lab analyses of chloride, sulfate nitrate and turbidity. Environmental conditions, including rainfall and wind direction and velocity were also recorded. Results confirm that basic water quality parameters typically fall within acceptable ranges with the exception of persistently elevated turbidity values. To date, over 31 days of sampling, turbidity has been found to range from 20 to 47 NTU. These persistently elevated levels for this period are likely to cause reduced feeding rates in fish. No correlation has been found between turbidity and other measured parameters. Chloride was also found to be elevated following some rainfall events, and may represent residual road deicing salts being flushed into the canal. Chloride typically ranges from approximately 13 to 31 mg/L, but was found to spike as high as 150 mg/L following a rainfall event. In summary, basic parameters do not indicate impairment of water quality within the Erie Canal with the exception of turbidity to date.