North-Central Section - 46th Annual Meeting (23–24 April 2012)

Paper No. 11
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-11:40 AM


EMMER, Austin, Augustana College, 639 38th St, Rock Island, IL 61201,

The goal of this study is to establish a hydrochemical baseline for the surface water bodies in the Illinois Quad Cities. The study area is composed of 25 sites including the Mississippi River, the Rock River and other local bodies of water mainly consisting of artificial ponds. Sites were chosen based on accessibility, proximity to major waterways and overall coverage of the selected area. Samples were collected every two weeks over a ten-week period spanning June to October. The information gained from this study will offer important insight about the chemistry of runoff from urban areas, agriculture or industry. Furthermore, this study will establish a hydrochemical fingerprint of the baseflow of the selected bodies of water in the region for which further research could develop. Water temperature, pH, conductivity, and salinity were measured on site, and samples were taken for elemental analyses by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Further notation was also made of the most recent precipitation prior to sampling, and stream hydrographs from established USGS stream monitory stations were gathered for each site. Preliminary data shows that while each site may vary in composition with other sites, the hydrochemistry of the groundwater baseflow for each site remained constant. The Mississippi River and the Rock River showed much higher concentrations of certain elements (Cu, Pb, Hg, Cr) than the sites with ponded water suggesting that runoff from areas upstream were the source of the contamination. Other elements such as Zn, Fe, Ca, and Cd were found at slightly higher concentrations in ponded water than in the rivers suggesting that these elements were transported primarily though groundwater system. The overall quality of the water under baseflow conditions in the Quad Cities, IL area falls well within the EPA’s Water Quality Standard Regulations as well as those set forth by the Federal Clean Water Act.