Paper No. 6-1
Presentation Time: 8:05 AM
MONITORING WATER QUALITY IN THE KANKAKEE RIVER WATERSHED DURING AN EL NINO WINTER
An understanding of the composition of local freshwater sources is important to assess the quality of water in the area. Water chemistry is important in relation to human health, condition of the local ecosystem, and connections with local geology. In this study, our research team is attempting to study changes in dissolved cation concentrations across seasonal variation in the Kankakee River Basin. Discharge is measured regularly at 3 USGS gaging stations in the watershed: Kankakee River at Wilmington, Kankakee River at Momence, and the Iroquois River at Chebanse. In order to assess areas of the watershed under different cases of land use, our research team is collecting water samples from five local creeks: Bourbonnais Creek, Soldier Creek, Horse Creek, Forked Creek, and Rock Creek. Properties measured include pH, temperature, conductivity, alkalinity, and hardness. Dissolved cations (Ca+2, Mg+2, Na+, K+) will be measured by AAS. We seek to assess changes in Na+ as winter progresses by establishing baseline data in the fall and collecting samples throughout the seasons until early spring. These data will provide an important comparison point for future studies as the anomalously warm temperatures this year due to very strong El Niño effects have greatly reduced the amount of road salts applied to the area. The effects of the increased runoff on the local water chemistry will become more intriguing as this study continues.