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Georgia Coastal Adopt-A-Wetland Chemical Training. Georgia Adopt-A-Stream Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division 2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Suite 1462, East Tower Atlanta, Georgia 30334 404.657.5947.

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Georgia Coastal Adopt-A-Wetland

Chemical Training

Georgia Adopt-A-Stream

Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division

2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

Suite 1462, East Tower

Atlanta, Georgia 30334



Georgia Adopt-A-Stream/Wetland

  • What is it?
    • Georgia’s volunteer water quality monitoring


  • Program Goals
    • A: Increase public awareness
    • D: Collect quality baseline water quality data
    • O: Gather observations
    • P: Encourage partnerships between citizens & local government
    • T: Provide tools & training

Physical/Chemical Monitoring

  • Purpose: Gather info about specific water quality characteristics
  • In addition to visual observations and weather information, Coastal AAW recommends monitoring these core measurements:
    • Temperature
    • Dissolved Oxygen
    • pH
    • Salinity
    • Clarity/Secchi
  • Nutrient testing, alkalinity, and settleable solids may be added to your list as interest and equipment allows.

EPA Quality Assurance Project Plan

  • Quality Assurance Quality Control (QA/QC)
  • Only individuals are
  • certified
  • Certification is valid for one year
  • Volunteers must attend an annual recertification workshop
  • Only certified volunteers can submit data

To Become a Certified QA/QC Volunteer…

  • FIELD: In the field, volunteers
  • must achieve results within the duplicate precision rules of those obtained by the trainer
  • WRITTEN: Volunteers must
  • pass a written evaluation with
  • a score of at least 80%
what is a watershed
What is a Watershed?
  • A watershed is the land area from which water, sediment, and dissolved materials drain to a common point along a stream, wetland, lake or river.
  • Its boundaries are marked by the highest points of land around the waterbody.

Where, When and How Often?

  • Where: Same site location and elbow deep
  • When: Same time of day, same tidal stage, and during normal flow conditions
  • How often: At least once a month
safety considerations
Safety Considerations
  • If conditions are too dangerous to sample…


  • Wait until storm has stopped and strong flow has subsided
  • Never sample alone
  • Remember to wear gloves and boots
  • Use waste bucket to dispose of chemicals!
  • Receive permission from land owner before going onto private property

1. Temperature (°C)

  • Measurement:
  • In the shade, away from direct sunlight.
  • Take air temperature before water temperature.
  • Single measurement for each parameter
  • Measured in degrees Celsius (°C)
  • State Standards for Water Temperature:
  • Less than 32.2°C (90°F)
  • Importance:
  • Temperature/dissolved oxygen relationship:

The higher the temperature, the less oxygen the water can hold.

  • Life adapts to a narrow range of temperatures. Changes of only a few degrees can affect the life in a stream.
  • Temperature affects feeding, respiration, and aquatic metabolism.
2 dissolved oxygen mg l or ppm
2. Dissolved Oxygen(mg/L or ppm)
  • Measurement:
  • RINSE sampling bottles twice before collecting sample
  • Take two samples for duplicate precision.
    • Two samples must be within +/- 0.6
    • If not, take another sample until two are within that range.
  • Measured in mg/L or ppm (1 mg/L = 1 ppm)
  • State Standards for DO levels:
    • Average of 5 mg/L for Georgia streams
    • A minimum of 4 mg/L
    • Trout streams: Average of 6 mg/L and a minimum of 5 mg/L
  • Importance:
  • Needed for respiration for all aquatic life
  • Can be altered by other physical/chemical parameters

2. Dissolved Oxygen

  • Inversely related to temperature:
    • As temperature increases, DO decreases
    • As temperature decreases, DO increases
  • DO levels may increase due to
    • diffusion from the atmosphere,
    • plant metabolism as a waste product of photosynthesis
    • turbulent mixing (riffles)
  • DO levels may decrease due to
    • warm temperatures
    • an overload of decaying organic matter (due to excess nutrients)
    • slow moving, deep water

3. pH (su)

  • Measure of hydrogen ions (H+)
  • Measured on a 0-14 scale
  • Pure water has equal amount of H+ and OH- ions and has a pH of 7
  • Brackish/salt water pH values <7 can be 7.2-8.5
  • Measurement:
  • Rinse sampling bottles twice before collecting sample
  • Take two samples for duplicate precision.
    • Two samples must be within +/-0.25 standard units
    • If not, take another sample until two are within that range.
  • State Standards for pH:
  • Between 6 and 8.5
  • In coastal areas pH is normally above 7 and can be 7.2-8.5
  • Importance:
  • Aquatic organisms are sensitive to pH fluctuations
4 salinity ppt
4. Salinity (ppt)
  • Measures amount of dissolved salts in water
  • Measurement:
  • Instrument:Refractometer
  • Units are parts per thousand (ppt)
  • Take two samples for duplicate precision.
    • Two samples must be within +/-1.0 ppt
    • If not, take another sample until two are within that range.
  • General salinity ranges:
    • Freshwater 0-5 ppt; Brackish water 5-30 ppt
    • Saltwater 32+ ppt
  • Importance:
  • Aquatic plants and organisms are sensitive to changes in salinity
  • Changes depending on amount of rainfall and
  • tidal stage
5 secchi disk cm
5. Secchi Disk (cm)
  • Measures clarity of the water
  • Includes all suspended particles in a sample
  • Measurement:
  • Instrument: Secchi Disk
  • Finds ‘Secchi Disk Depth’ in cm
  • Take two samples for duplicate precision:
    • Two samples must be within +/-10cm
    • If not, take another sample until
    • two are within that range.
  • Importance:
  • Affects growth of plants by changing the
  • availability sunlight
  • Affected by seasons, weather conditions, algal blooms, and amount of suspended particles


  • Nitrates
    • A nutrient found in the water from fertilizers or animal waste. Sewage is the main contributor.
    • Normal background levels are below 1ppm
  • Phosphates
    • A nutrient found in water from soaps, fertilizer, animal waste, industrial effluent and sewage
    • Normal background levels are below 0.1ppm
    • Excess nutrients can cause algal blooms, affect sensitive macroinvertebrates, and decrease dissolved oxygen levels

All monitoring






  • Tide
  • Water Clarity
  • Water Color
  • Water Surface
  • Water Odor
  • Photos
  • Trash

Chemical Data Form

  • Use Chemical data form (Chemical/Bacterial combo data form may also be used)
  • Remember:
    • Check expiration dates of reagents
    • Duplicate precision for pH and Dissolved Oxygen
    • Calibration information for conductivity meter

Submit the Data…

  • SOON after monitoring is complete!
  • Data should be submitted to the state’s online database:
  • Share your data with partners, local governments and your local Adopt-A-Stream coordinators

Volunteer Monitoring Data Uses

  • Local water departments
  • City Councils
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Forestry Services
  • Environmental Groups
  • Riverkeepers
  • Consulting Agencies
  • Local and State Government

Source: National Directory of Volunteer

Environmental Monitoring Programs, 5th Edition


Chemical Kit Maintenance & Disposal

  • Keep chemical kits in a cool, dark place.
  • Replace chemicals when expired or contaminated
  • Disposal of chemicals:

Used: flush down drain (water trt facility)Contaminated/expired: Hazardous waste day or return to AAS/AAW office for disposal

  • Contact Coastal Adopt-A-Wetland office for replacement equipment or reagents

Just the Facts

Excess Organic Matter

Causes a decrease in dissolved oxygen levels

  • Raise Awareness
  • Water quality Data
  • Gather Observations
  • Encorage Partnerships
  • Provide Tools and Training


6-8.5 (statewide)

above 7 and can be 7.2-8.5 (Coastal)

Dissolved Oxygen (temp., DO)

ppm or mg/L

Data: on-line database as soon as possible, local program, city & county government & municipality, partners, county commissioners, universities, others?

Once a monthAt same tidal stage

DO levels increase:-Photosynthesis by phytoplankton and submerged vegetation-Water currents and wind

DO levels decrease:-Increase in temperature-Respiration-Decomposition-low flow or no water movement

Acidic or Basic?

0-6.9: _______

7.1-14: ______

Salinity: ppt

Dissolved Oxygen

not lower than 4 with an average of at least 5 mg/L or ppm

Temperature importance of, where to measure…