“Indicators of Water Quality” Foldable

*Glue your foldable onto page _____ of your interactive notebook.

*On page _____, write the following:

        Indicator-substance that identifies chemical conditions or changes

        Foldable Guide


        Type of Indicator (physical, chemical, or biological)


        Causes of change



        Extra notes/Examples

*On the “Temperature” flap of your foldable, write the following:

D Temperature- the measure of average kinetic energy or amount of heat

T  Physical indicator

L  Between 0oC and 21oC ( 32oF and 81oF)

C Source of water, time of year, sediment, depth, amount of shade

R  Easier to catch disease, death

I  Cooling towers, more shade

E Cold water holds more oxygen than warm water.  Thermal pollution (warm water dumped into rivers from nuclear plants) decreases oxygen levels).

*On the “Dissolved Oxygen” flap of your foldable, write the following:

D The amount of dissolved oxygen in the water

T  Physical indicator

L  Avg 9.0ppm, needs to be 4-5ppm to support fish

C Wave action, wind, depth and plant growth, temperature of water

R Too low→can cause stress or death for organisms, high DO better taste, pipe corrosion

I Control nutrient content, algae growth and water movement

E Pollutants like sewage, fertilizers, and animal waste can decrease oxygen levels.

*On the “pH” flap of your foldable, write the following:

D Measures acidity of the water 0→7acid, 7 is neutral, 7→14 base

T Physical indicator

L  Fresh water 6.0→9.0, Swamp as low as 4.3, Salt water 8.1 or as low as 7.7

C Natural conditions (swamps), dumping of wastes (batteries), farm runoff (lime)

R Most aquatic life has limits that result in death if exceeded

I Control pollution

*On the “Turbidity” flap of your foldable, write the following:

D A measure of the concentration of particles suspended in water (how clear the water is)

T Physical indicator

L  Ideal: 1 NTU,  high 5 NTU (Nephelometric Turbidity Unit)

C Runoff, algae growth, waste discharge, phytoplankton, increase in erosion and bottom being “stirred up”

R High level increase sunlight absorption causing temperature increase in water which can cause death for organisms due to the reducing of dissolved oxygen

I Control sediment, reduce nutrients to reduce algae, limit boat speed

E Suspended particles also scatter light, decreasing phosythnesis activity in plants and algae, which can also contribute to lower oxygen levels

*On the “Salinity” flap of your foldable, write the following:

D Measure of the amount of dissolved salts in the water

T Physical indicator

L  Depends on type of water

C Amount or rain, stream levels, evaporation

R The wrong amount can cause death (don’t want salt in a fresh water environment)

I Water conservation

*On the “Nitrates and Phosphate” flap of your foldable, write the following:

D Measure of the amount of nitrates or phosphates in the water

T Chemical indicator

L Drinking water nitrates max 10 mg/L, higher than 90 mg/L nitrates will effect fish, .65ppm                (phosphates) or .08ppm for (nitrates)

C Fertilizer runoff, detergents, sewage, animal waste will cause an increase

R Increase plant production and fish population causing overcrowding, dissolved oxygen levels decrease killing organisms when levels of nitrates and phosphate go up, can kill children

I Improve water treatment and restrictions or bans on products or processes, increase buffer zones

E Nitrates can come from animal waste and fertilizers that seep into the soil.  Some amounts are normal in water, but elevated levels are harmful.

*On the “Bio-Indicators” flap of your foldable, write the following:

D Aquatic plants and animals used as indicators of water quality, due to their sensitivity to pollution

T  Biological indicator

L  Too many or too few organisms could indicate unhealthy water

C Excess nutrients, pollution resulting in change in temp, pH, DO, nitrate and phosphate levels

R Too many or too few organisms are present

I Control pollution, remove waste, treat water

E Fish used most often.  Other organisms used are aquatic plants, aquatic insects, leeches, mussels, and worms.

*On page ____ of your interactive notebook, write the following:

Ways to monitor water quality in North Carolina:

  1. Network of wells drilled to measure groundwater levels
  2. Water quality monitoring stations
  3. Satellite photos
  4. Programs to monitor effects of agriculture on water quality