Paper No. 14
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
A SNAPSHOT OF WATER QUALITY IN THE SUSQUEHANNA IN SUMMER 2010: INFLUENCE OF BYERS ISLAND, SHAMOKIN CREEK, AND THE SHAMOKIN DAM POWER PLANT ON LOCAL SUSQUEHANNA RIVER WATER
During a 2009 study of water quality of the Susquehanna River at Shady Nook boat launch near Hummels Wharf, PA, elevated concentrations of heavy metals (copper, lead, manganese) were measured between Byer’s Island, a mid-river restricted access island, and the easternmost river shore. In summer 2010 we designed a more intensive sampling scheme to identify the sources of these metals. The river was sampled in transects above an inflatable dam upstream of the area, across the river near the upstream end of Byers Island, across the river on both sides of the island near the lower quadrant of the island, and across the river just past the downstream end of the island. We also took soil cores from the island at sites adjacent to the river transects. A final set of samples was collected in Shamokin Creek, upstream of Byer’s Island, above the creek’s confluence with the river. In situ measurements included pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature and conductivity. Immediately upon returning to shore, we measured turbidity on each sample, after which each sample was filtered through a glass fiber filter (effective pore size 0.7µm), followed by triplicate titrations to determine alkalinity and acidity. Triplicate samples of both filtered and unfiltered water from each site were acidified, chilled, and transported to the lab for later analysis of selected metals. An additional set of triplicate non-acidified, filtered samples from each site was collected, chilled, then frozen immediately upon returning from the field, and thawed just before analysis of selected anions. Results of the analyses in 2010 were not consistent with those of the prior study. Part of the discrepancy may be due to the much lower river level in 2010. In addition, our expanded sampling design revealed at least two other potential source areas for pollution. Samples taken adjacent to and downstream of the Hummels Wharf power plant were elevated in manganese and sulfate. The downstream site closest to the west bank was also an anomaly, with lower pH and higher aluminum and copper levels than found in upstream samples. This project was part of a larger study funded by the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies involving biological and chemical assessments of the Susquehanna River.