2008 Maine Water Conference
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Augusta Civic Center
High School l Undergraduate l Graduate
High School Competition Joint Winners
Erik Jacobson, Greely High School, Cumberland, Maine.
The Effect of Nickel on Growth and Development in Orconectes immunis (Crayfish)
Concentrations of nickel, classified as a heavy metal, are increasing globally in both fresh and salt water. Although it is a naturally occurring element, aberrant sources are causing Nickel concentrations to reach unprecedented heights. Mining, refining, and stainless steal production are the largest sources of nickel pollution. While metals like mercury have been investigated for chronic effects, nickel has not. Nickel, unlike other heavy metals, does not pose as large of a threat because it is not stored, but instead passed through the body. Marine organisms, such as crayfish, bioaccumulate nickel in their outer shell. This leads to the possibility of chronic side affects such as inhibited growth and development— as seen when plants are exposed to Nickel contaminated soil. This possibility was then tested, by designing an experiment which would consist of two samples of crayfish, one as a control and one exposed to a concentration of nickel higher than the recommended criteria for surface water. 12 crayfish, in one tank, were exposed in water with 300 ppb Ni, while the other tank of 12 crayfish was exposed to Nickel free water. Every week the crayfish were analyzed by mass, volume, length, width, and height to test for overall growth. After two months, it was determined that the Nickel did inhibit the growth of the crayfish. The crayfish that were chronically exposed to the toxic levels of Nickel did grow significantly less (P= 1.66E-07, 2.64E-05, 0.012043)
Carin P. King, Waterville Senior High School, Waterville, Maine.
Determination of Arsenic in Natural Waters Using Surface Plasmon Resonance: A Low Cost Analytical Tool for Arsenic Screening
Arsenic is a known toxin that is found in water throughout the world. Arsenic contamination is a particular problem in developing countries where drinking water is often drawn from shallow, unmonitored wells. Long-term exposure to unsafe levels of arsenic causes cancer and precancerous diseases. An inexpensive and robust screening method for arsenic is needed for routine analysis of drinking water. Forzani et. al. (2007) reported success in the detection of arsenic using differential surface plasmon resonance, (SPR). We have modified the Forzani SPR method for singe beam instrumentation, using dithiothreitol as a arsenic specific, surface receptor and will report arsenic detection limits for this simplified technique. Single beam SPR offers the potential for a low, cost field portable, sensor for arsenic.
Undergraduate Competition Joint Winners
William Ball1, Laura Wilson1, Christopher Brewer2, Kate Gaudet1 and Theodore Smythe1
1 University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Orono
2 Penobscot County Soil & Water Conservation District, Bangor
Enhancing Lakefront Buffer Adoption through Social Marketing
The leading causes of water pollution in the state of Maine include sediment and nutrient loading. This project was designed to reduce the input of these pollutants by encouraging the use of vegetative buffers on lakefront property on Pushaw Lake, Maine. The goals were to identify barriers to installing lakefront buffers and to develop marketing tools to effect behavior change concerning installation and maintenance of lakefront buffers. By using two focus groups and a survey, we determined that the lakefront landowners who participated or responded have concerns about the water quality of Pushaw, have some knowledge of nutrient and water quality issues, and realize that their lakefront property may be contributing to the rising levels of phosphorus in Pushaw. A large percentage of respondents indicated a willingness to make changes on their property in order to protect the lake. We used a targeted outcome process developed by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and New Hampshire Sea Grant to develop three social marketing-based outreach tools: pre-designed landscaped custom landscape packages, garden parties, and incentives for signing a buffer “pledge”. We learned that no matter the offer of incentive, personal contact with the target audience (as opposed to direct mail or door-hanger advertising) yields better results.
Kerry Whittaker, Eva Gougian, Jessica Harold, David Firmage, Russell Cole, and Tracey Greenwood.
Colby College, Department of Biology,Waterville, ME.
The Impact of Development and Changing Land-Use Patterns on the Water Quality of Long Pond South Basin
In the fall of 2007, Colby College analyzed land-use and development patterns in the Long Pond South watershed to determine their impact on lake water quality. Recently, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection has observed a decreasing trend in the water quality of Long Pond. We imported 2003 Digital Orthophoto Quadrangles from the Maine Office of GIS into ArcGIS 9.2 to quantify the various land-use types found in the Long Pond South watershed. Land use patterns in 1966 were also digitized from aerial photographs. Although there has been a decrease in agricultural land (4.3%) and forested land (6.0%), there has been an increase in residential area in the watershed (2.0%). Current residential development is less than in the north basin with only 126 versus 239 shoreline homes. However, with a projected population increase in the surrounding towns of 65% by 2030, the potential for shoreline and watershed development in Long Pond South Basin is high. There are roughly 50 undeveloped lots along the shoreline, as well as large blocks of land in the watershed that could be developed in the future. Although current water quality is good (Total phosphorus concentration = 9.1 ppb), future development in the watershed poses a threat to the water quality of Long Pond South Basin.
Graduate Competition Winner
- Melinda Diehl, University of Maine
Melinda Diehl and Aria Amirbahman
Design and optimization of reactive thin-film membranes for studying mercury mobility and transformation in sediment porewater.
The inland and coastal waters in Maine have been subject to decades of anthropogenic mercury (Hg) loading. The mobility and toxicity of Hg are primarily controlled by the biogeochemical conditions present at a given site. Of particular concern is the Hg sediment flux in estuaries that can rapidly shift under changing redox conditions driven by tides. Measuring sediment Hg fluxes in estuaries is difficult due to redox sensitivity, high spatial heterogeneity, and the low porewater Hg concentrations. The purpose of this work is to develop a technique to study Hg flux in estuarine sediments at spatially and temporally relevant scales. Current methods of Hg sediment analysis typically lack the spatial resolution necessary to elucidate surface-water interface dynamics, disrupt Hg speciation by changing the redox condition of the sample, or do not provide temporally-relevant Hg flux data. In trying to bypass these shortfalls, we have developed a reactive thin-film membrane that can increase the spatial and temporal resolution of Hg concentration measurement in sediment porewater. The membranes have exhibited high Hg uptake capacity and fast uptake kinetics. These reactive thin-film membranes will provide quantitative information regarding the flux, mobility and bioavailability of sediment Hg, characteristics that affect Hg bioaccumulation.