Thesis Title

Time-Resolved Monitoring of Water Quality in Ozarks Springs During Storm Events

Date of Graduation

Fall 2003


Master of Science in Chemistry


Chemistry and Biochemistry

Committee Chair

Richard Biagioni


The availability of water resources is one of the most important factors in the settlement of an area, and indigenous communities worldwide exhibit commonality by concentrating their settlement close to fresh water sources. Springs resulting from karst geology are often used as water sources. Springs demand special attention because they can serve as early barometers of water quality in any watershed due to the fact that they tend to concentrate pollutants from several sinkholes and adjoining watershed. In this study, three springs, Fulbright, Rathbone and Sanders, differing in location, size and use, were sampled and monitored for Total Phosphorus (TIP), Total Nitrogen (TN) and Optical Brighteners by spectroscopic analysis. Automated water samplers were employed to sample spring water before and during storm events to evaluate the flushing action of increased water flow through the watershed to provide an accurate picture of these water quality parameters. Plots of each water quality parameters versus time (chemographs) were prepared to present data in a form that is easily read and understood. Statistical evaluations of the chemograph data were carried out comparing the three springs to each other, and comparing base flow and storm event nutrient concentrations. Elevated nutrient levels were observed for springs located in areas of highest population density or settlement. Optical brighteners were detected only at Fulbright Spring.Incorporation of water flow data would have provided a clearer picture of the total nutrient and contaminant load carried through the watershed but was unsuccessful.

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