The Effect of Acid Precipitation on Water Quality in Cove River

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The Effect of Acid Precipitation on Water Quality in Cove RiverAbstractCove River is located in the West Haven/New Haven area and is about 7 kilometers long. Cove river has a historically known research site on Jones Hill Road in West Haven. The site has previously been used for archeological digging and other research by environmentalists. As students at West Haven High School, the site has been used as a research zone for the Advanced Placement Biology class with Mr. Kevin Dickson. The focus of the data collected was to determine the effect of acid precipitation on the environment in West Haven and world wide. The research was done by finding the amount of phosphates and nitrates in the water and how these measurements were affected by the temperature of air and water, dissolved oxygen, and pH. Once a month, a sample of water was taken by students and put through a variety of water quality tests. After the information was recorded in journals and put on the GLOBE database, students reviewed the information to conclude if acid precipitation was affecting Cove River. Based on the results given by the data, the students were able to determine if acid precipitation was a world wide problem.


The purpose of this study was to gain understanding of the Cove River by researching the water quality from October 2011 to March 2012. Measurements of water temperature, air temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, phosphates, and nitrates lead to the following conclusions:

The higher the temperature of the water, the more dissolved oxygen is released, which leads to more nitric and phosphoric gases in the air.

The more rainfall prior to collecting the water sample of each month, caused more nitrates and phosphates to be present in Cove River.

The acidity of the rain is higher when the pH is lower.

By proving that acid rain is present in West Haven, Connecticut, it can be shown that acid rain can occur world wide, due to the fact that precipitation travels in cloud movement.

Due to the numbers of nitrates and phosphates proving acidity of Cove River, West Haven should meet with local business and factories to fix the problems of acid rain.


"Acid Rain Facts, Acid Rain Information, Acid Rain Pictures, Acid Rain Effects - National Geographic." Environment Facts, Environment Science, Global Warming, Natural Disasters, Ecosystems, Green Living - National Geographic. Web. 06 Oct. 2011. .

"Acid Rain in New England | US EPA." US Environmental Protection Agency. Web. 06 Oct. 2011. .

Acid Rain. Web. 6 Oct. 2011. .Likens, Gene E. Acid Rain. Web. 6 Oct. 2011.

"Welcometo the Cove River Site Online." Cove River. Web. 08 May 2012. .

"What Is Acid Rain and What Causes It?" Almanac of Policy Issues. Web. 06 Oct. 2011. .

Future DirectionsTo follow up on this experiment, a person can test for sulfuric gases as well as nitrates and phosphates. Sulfuric gases are a key factor in acid rain. Researching sulfuric acid levels with nitric acid levels can also be another study. A key improvement to this experiment would be collecting rain during a storm and testing the nitrates and phosphates in the rainwater before the contaminants are diluted in a watershed. The soil may also be tested for nitrates, phosphates, and sulfur that was collected by rain which could potentially runoff into the water creating acid precipitation.

Another method that can be taken to further the research is to look at the surrounding factories and businesses that cause pollution by burning fossil fuels. These factories release fossil fuels into the environment which get evaporated into the clouds and as a result lead to acid precipitation. Some surrounding business sites also use fertilizers, which contain phosphates and other harmful chemicals which contributes to the runoff into Cove River. Water Quality Measurements Methods1. Find a watershed area that may be impacted by acid rain to research site to work at.2. Get a water sample in a bucket from the river.3. Immediately take the temperature of the water using the Vernier probe ware and record it before the temperature and DO of the water can be impacted by the atmosphere.4. Take the Dissolved oxygen reading using the Vernier probe ware right after temperature and record it. 5. Transport the water samples in a sealed container to the lab.6. Use the Aquarium Pharmaceutical Fresh Water Test kit directions to get the readings of phosphates and nitrates and record it. 7. Dispose the test tube liquids properly.8. Dump the water out down the drain.9. Clean up your lab station and put away safety equipment.

Problem Statement

This project will analyze the acidity of the water of Cove River from October 2011 to March 2012.

IV: Water quality

DV: Indicators of water quality - temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, phosphate, and nitrate

Hypothesis: If water temperatures are warm, then less nitrates and phosphates will be found, because warm water releases oxygen, nitrogen, and phosphorus gases that combine to create acid rain


We would like to thank Professor Scott Graves for taking the time to come and help instruct our class . Thanks also to Mr. Dickson for giving us the opportunity to do hands-on research and expand our knowledge on Global studies

Amount of Phosphates and Nitrates Found Monthly The Effect of Temperatures, Ph, and Dissolved Oxygen on Phosphate and Nitrates