Analysis of daily field samples via quick tests

Tennessee River
Nitratunter 0,3mg/L0,95mg/L
Phosphatunter 0.05mg/L0,45mg/L
CSB5,5 mg/Lüber 40 mg/L
O2-Gehalt3,3 mg/L7,9 mg/L
SchwellenwertErwartete WerteMinimalMaximal
Nitrat50 mg/L2,57 mg/L1 mg/L3,5 mg/L
Blei10 µg/L1,1 µg/L0,5 µg/L2,5 µg/L
Phosphat0,5 – 6,0 mg/L0,041 mg/L0,03 mg/L0,17 mg/L
CSB1–2 mg/l3,4 mg/L2 mg/L7 mg/L
Ammonium-Stickstoff1 mg/L0,05 mg/L0,05 mg/L0,05 mg/L
Leitfähigkeit500-1000 µS/cm792 µS/cm500 µS/cm800 µS/cm
O2 -Gehalt7 mg/L11,3 mg/L8 mg/L15 mg/L

Why do we measure these parameters?

Nitrate: Nitrate nitrogen usually results from vehicle emissions or from agricultural fertilizers. Large amounts of nitrogen, usually in the form of nitrates, can under neutral, aerobic conditions cause eutrophication, meaning that an overdose of nutrients leads to a lack of oxygen that causes fish to die (see DO).

Lead: The heavy metal lead, in a constant concentration of more than 10µg/l, leads to chronic poisoning and hematopoietic stem cell defects. It also affects the metabolism of vitamin D and calcium and causes brain damage in infants.

Phosphate: Increased levels of phosphate in water, along with ammonium and nitrate, could be an indication of possible pollution by feces or the overuse of phospate-rich fertilizers. Also linked to this is the unwanted or harmful growth of certain plants such as algae and the resulting ecological imbalance.

COD: The chemical oxygen demand is, as a cumulative parameter, a measure of the total oxidable substances in the water under certain conditions. It defines the amount of oxygen (in mg/l) which would be necessary to cause oxidation, if oxygen were the means of oxidation. The COD is thus an indicator of the level of water pollution by oxidable organic substances.

NH4 nitrogen: Ammonia nitrogen generally results from ammonia emissions from agriculture, animal husbandry in particular. Ammonia is not normally found in drinking or groundwater so if this occurs, it is a strong indicator of pollution through wastewater and landfill water seepage. By measuring ammonia levels, it is possible to determine the level of pollution and the quality of the water.

pH: The pH value indicates whether a water body is acidic or basic. This parameter influences the metabolism of aquatic wildlife and the solubility of minerals. For instance, a low pH (which may be the result of acid rain or industrial effluents) increases the solubility and thus the toxicity of many heavy metals in water.

Conductivity: Dissolved substances such as salts can increase water’s capability to pass an electrical current. Increased conductivity therefore indicates pollution, resulting from storm water runoff or untreated wastewater; however, it can also result from natural sources such as soil erosion.

Temperature: Water temperature is considered a water quality indicator, because thermal pollution (changes in water temperature that, for example, result from industrial cooling processes) can alter the existing species composition in natural water bodies.

Dissolved Oxygen (DO): Oxygen dissolved in water is critical for aquatic organisms to survive. Oxygen-consuming bacteria (which increasingly occur when lots of organic matter decays) can cause whole water bodies to “die” since less oxygen is available to other organisms such as fish. This process is called “eutrophication”.

Substances that will be evaluated 4-10 weeks after termination of the project

  • Microplastics (Furtwangen University)
  • Heavy metals (Perkin Elmer)
  • Pharmaceuticals, hormones, and fertilizers (Perkin Elmer & Furtwangen University)
  • Fluorinated chemicals (Technologiezentrum Wasser)