Seventh graders are studying water quality and nonpoint water pollution. “Last week we explored nonpoint water pollution,” says Mrs. Hobbs, an Upper School science teacher. Nonpoint is pollution that gets into our water but we can not pinpoint the exact source.” Examples are fertilizer from a farm, sediment run off from a construction site, and other sources.

Leveraging the natural resources on our campus, the class headed down to to the portion of Spout Run that cuts across the campus. The bridge over by the athletic fields provided the perfect home base for this collaborative hands-on experiment.

“Last week students tested Spout Run for nitrates, phosphates, pH, turbidity, dissolved oxygen and coliform. Nitrates and phosphates come from agricultural run-and animal waste, pH can be affected by acid rain, turbidity can be affected by sediment runoff. Students tested samples from the stream and tested each in small groups by the stream.”

Students used a color chart to find the:

Dissolved oxygen levels

“Based on the results, our stream is quite healthy, although there looks like there might be some coliform (bacteria from animal waste) present,” continues Mrs. Hobbs. “This is not that surprising considering we live in such a high agricultural area with lots of cattle.”