GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 323-1
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


OH, Pureunsol1, YOTHER Jr., Christian C.1, SLIKO, Jennifer L.2, CLARK, Shirley3 and KAKUTURU, Sruthi4, (1)Geosciences, The Pennsylvania State University, 503 Deike Building, University Park, PA 16802, (2)School of Science, Engineering, and Technology, Penn State Harrisburg, 777 West Harrisburg Pike, Middletown, PA 17057, (3)Civil and Environmental Engineering, Penn State Harrisburg, 777 W Harrisburg Pike, Middletown, PA 17057, (4)Geosciences, Penn State University, University Park,

Lititz Run, located in central Pennsylvania, is a tributary of the Conestoga River, which flows into the Susquehanna River and ultimately drains into the Chesapeake Bay. The region around Lititz Run was settled in 1727 and is influenced by agricultural, residential, and industrial purposes. Agricultural runoff and industrial waste severely contaminated Lititz Run throughout the history. In 1997, the Lititz Run Watershed Alliance (LRWA) was formed to encourage local efforts to restore the polluted stream. The local project includes wetland creation, farmland conservation practices, planting trees and shrubs, installing fish habitat devices, dam removal, and Eddy rock emplacements. Through water quality analysis, we can examine the success of the LRWA stream restoration on the Lititz Run.

Our team collected geomorphic data, water samples, and sediment from Lititz Run during the early summer of 2015 and 2016, once a week for 5 weeks. Geomorphic data was used to examine the depth profile of sampling sites. Water quality analysis included chemical oxygen demand, total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorous (TP), turbidity, dissolved oxygen (DO), and biological oxygen demand. Sediment analysis examined grain size distribution to estimate historical stream velocity. The results of our data analysis show that the Lititz Run rehabilitation is a moderate success.

Over the two years of water quality analyses, we investigated the stream degradation. A 34% increase in TN levels and a 48% increase in TP levels suggest a move towards unhealthy stream conditions from 2015 to 2016. While DO levels were decreased by 26%, the pH level satisfies the criteria of healthy streams. We suspect nitrogen and phosphorous enter the stream system via agricultural runoff and industrial discharge. Overall, the water quality of Lititz Run convinces the stream is in a moderately healthy condition. Even though the stream condition has improved, surrounding land use practices still contaminate the stream.