Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:20 AM
AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE WATER QUALITY OF A MIDDLE GEORGIA WATER SYSTEM AND POSSIBLE SOURCES OF CONTAMINATION
Groundwater has continued to grow as a source of drinking, irrigation and industrial cooling water in the US and the rest of the world. Even in the state of Georgia, where a lot of drinking water comes from surface water bodies, a number of families and farm operations rely on groundwater for their water needs. It is, therefore, important that this resource be protected and cleaned up whenever contaminated. This study investigates potential contamination of a very important stream and a groundwater source by human activities at Salamander Springs Farm. Salamander Springs is a 50-acre permaculture farm on the border of Jones and Baldwin Counties, GA. Along with water quality parameters (dissolved oxygen, air temperature, water temperature, conductivity, and pH), fecal coliform, nitrates, phosphates and chlorine were tested in groundwater and surface water. This study also utilizes dye tracing and GIS modeling to understand the groundwater and surface water interactions at this site. Except for one groundwater discharge spring, all water samples collected to date have tested positive for fecal coliform bacteria. One site along the stream had elevated level of chlorine (27 ppm) that is not expected in the natural environments. Nitrate levels were all within the normal range while phosphates were higher at some locations on the farm. A yellow algae-like discharge was also observed to extend downstream (through time) during spring of 2014. Water quality monitoring is being continued and models of the surface and groundwater systems on the property are being developed in order to better understand the system. Further investigations are also being conducted to determine specific off property pollution sources, this will allow initial water remediation steps to be taken in the near future.