2A.6 The Effect of Rainfall Events on the Water Quality of the Raritan River Estuary

Thursday, 12 November 2009: 4:50 PM
Carissa N. Wilkerson, Hampton University, Hampton, VA; and J. D. Vieser, S. Glenn, and R. Chant

The Raritan River, located in central New Jersey, is an understudied and highly polluted estuary. Over the past twenty seven years water quality data has been collected from an upstream location; however, this data has never been analyzed. During the summer of 2009 this historical data was analyzed and compared to historical rainfall data of the Raritan River Basin to determine how rainfall influences the dissolved oxygen (DO), pH, water temperature, and salinity in the river. In addition, vertical water quality profiles were taken in June and July, 2009 to determine the short term reaction of the river to rainfall. The historical data showed that the pH over the past twenty seven years has not only become more acidic, but also follows the same pattern as rainfall. Dissolved oxygen generally increased with rain and water temperature generally decreased with rain. The recently collected salinity data proved that with extended rainfall, saltwater was unable to force its way upstream. The current DO and water temperature data followed the same pattern as the historical data. The current pH data also proved to follow the same pattern as the historical data, becoming more basic during periods of high rainfall.
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