Analysis of Nitrate Levels in Surface Water from Oxford, Ohio Authors Cameron Carothers, Matt Clements, Megan Budden Jorge Escobar Dr. Cybulski CHM 145 A 2 December 2016 Abstract The hypothesis for this experiment claims that water collected from running sources of water in Oxford will have high levels of nitrate due to its geographical location and its proximity to farms. The results reveal that there is actually a generally low amount of nitrate in the water sources found in Oxford, Ohio. The nitrate concentration from all water sources was all less than 3.00 mg/L. All of the data collected was found to be precise and aided in the conclusion that the hypothesis could be changed. Introduction The hypothesis for this experiment is that water collected from running sources of water in Oxford will have high levels of nitrate due to its geographical location and its proximity to farms. This hypothesis came about because in nature, there are other substances found in water than just H 2 O. Nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, carbon dioxide, and oxygen can all be found in water and sometimes at unsafe levels. These compounds can be increased by human activities such as using fertilizer and coal mining. Other substances come from the ground or pipes such as calcium and magnesium, sodium, potassium, sulfate, sulfite, sulfide, iron, chloride, bromide, phosphorous, nitrogen, and lead. Some substances are added intentionally like chloride and fluoride to make water safer to drink and to make people healthier. If there are high levels of nitrate found in water, this could pose a health risk for infants and adults. Nitrates come from fertilizers and from the environment. In Oxford, Ohio, the level of nitrate detected in the water was 0.54 MCL. The maximum contaminant level for nitrate in drinking water is 10, so Oxford water is very much safe to drink.
The largest cause of nitrate was caused by the use of fertilizers in agriculture. The water is drawn from a well field and surface water seeps into the aquifer from the ground. For this experiment, the research plan consisted of collecting water from three different locations in Oxford and testing them with an ion-selective electrode for nitrates. The sites that the water sources were collected were Peffer Park, the stream on Western Campus, and the pond behind the Farmer School of Business. All of these locations are far from each other and will provide a good analysis of the water around Oxford. Methods Preparation of Solutions Five standard solutions were prepared using properly cleaned glassware. A standard solution with 1 mL of the nitrate stock solution was pipetted into a clean 100mL volumetric flask. It was then diluted to volume with deionized water. This made a 1M solution. This process was repeated with 2, 4, 6, and 10 mL of nitrate stock solution to make 2, 4, 6, and 10 M solutions.