GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 90-12
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-1:00 PM


DHAR, Adrita, Brooklyn Technical High School, 29 Fort Greene Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11217, RAHMAN, Sarnale, Central Park East High School, 1573 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10029, NATH, Bibhash, Department of Geography and Environmental Science, Hunter College of the City University of New York, New York, NY 10065 and DHAR, Ratan, Earth and Physical Sciences, York College of the City University of New York, 94-20 Guy R. Brewer Blvd, Jamaica, NY 11451

Flushing Bay is a saltwater tidal embayment located in North-Central Queens. Due to urbanization of the Flushing Bay watershed an increase in the pollutants coming in from the sewage and storm water was seen. A significant increase in run-off in the waterbody has also been observed where run-offs from roofs and street basins in the combined and separate sewer systems get discharged directly into the Flushing Bay. With all the anthropogenic activities occurring around the bay area has led to contaminants depositing in the water through the help of run-offs caused by rainfall and huge storms which can pose danger to the public health. Along with run-offs the CSO (Combined Sewer Overflows) contributes to the contaminants depositing in such water bodies. Using data generated by NYC-DEP (New York City Department of Environmental Protection) from Flushing Bay over the past 10 years there is a clear connection with the microbial growth in the water and the physico-chemical parameters.

Of all fecal indicator bacterial contamination, one that draws our attention is Fecal Coliform (FC) bacteria. In the historical data the samples were taken from 5 different sites at Flushing Bay which are E6, E15, FB1, FLC1, and FLC2. Parameters that are being compared with FC bacteria in the existing data include Nitrate/Nitrite, Ortho-Phosphate, Ammonium, Dissolved oxygen, ORP, and Temperature. One of the chemical parameters that correlates with microbial growth is nitrate. Based on the data when the nitrate level gets above 0.1 ppm there is an increase in the microbial (fecal indicator bacteria) occurrence. Similarly the majority of the microbes were seen between 0.1 ppm to 1 ppm for both the O-Phosphate as well as the Ammonium. With such an increase in microbial growth the dissolved oxygen level was consistently get decreased. FC occurrence was found to be maximum when the temperature was warmer around 20 to 25oC. This trend is consistent with increased microbial growth during warmer weather when most of the anthropogenic activities occur. All the parameters connect one way or another leading to overall poor water quality in Flushing Bay and with such unregulated water draining into the bay it clearly poses a threat to aquatic life and public health.

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