Sure It’s Fine, We Checked 9 Years Ago: Surface Water Quality Testing of the Little Calumet River in Gary and Lake Station, Indiana.

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Julie Peller


Arts and Sciences



Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-3-2019


Fresh surface water is monitored every nine years in the state of Indiana, likely due to the cost and resources required. With nine year gaps in testing, arising problems caused by pollution from new industries, heavy salting of roads, and other sources can quickly escalate in severity. This leads to adverse health effects for aquatic ecosystems. In collaboration with Indiana University Northwest’s hydrology class, Valparaiso University’s Chemistry 190 class investigated several important parameters used to assess the health of fresh surface water. The samples were collected from the Little Calumet River in Gary near the IU Northwest Campus and Lake Station on February 12, 2019. Parameters of investigation included cation (Ca2+, Mg2+) and anion (F-, Cl-, NO3-, Br-, NO2-, PO43-, SO42-) concentration, number of microfibers, total suspended solids (TSS), turbidity, ammonia concentration, pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, total phosphorus, and total dissolved phosphorus of the fresh surface water. A number of methods were used, including ion chromatography, multiple methods of filtration, the Fenton reaction, and spectrophotometry. The results offer a better understanding of the water quality in the areas sampled; however, it is only a glimpse of the current conditions of two sites as opposed to long term monitoring statewide. The best method of assessing water quality is to monitor several locations consistently, frequently, and continuously. Our final analysis will be presented among the known healthy levels for these parameters.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Students are enrolled in Chemistry 190, Introduction to Chemical Research

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