testing water for pollutants

So, when visiting home for the first time in a long while I learned of a disturbing development. A simply evil local company called AK steel was forced to admit that it had been dumping large amounts of mercury into a local body of water known as the connoquenessing creek…which incidentally is a place I spent many, many hours in kayaking and rafting as a kid. I think from now on I am going to test the water at every place I make a routine paddling destination. Do any of you do this…can you recommend a test kit or method?


I paddle the Connie regularly
"She’s a dirty girl, but she’s fun"

After reading your post I searched for a story about it and came up empty. Do you have a link to one?

Test for what?
“Pollutant” is a pretty broad term.

To detect all of the possible thousands of elements and compounds that could be considered pollutants would probably require both a mass spectrometer and a gas chromatograph - neither of which are particularly portable.

I couldn’t find any links to news of this dumping either.

Unless you are certified

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the samples you take will be worthless for any govenment documentation or recording.

Most sample have to be sent to a lab who analysis.

If you were ready to go paddling and found the river polluted would you really not paddle it? Just a quaestion because I paddled the nastiest river in Georgia for 6 days to get publicity for it.

polluted rivers
don’t know whether or not I would really stop kayaking there…but I spent the last 15 months on the banks of the euphrates in babil province, Iraq and that river is polluted to hell with industrial runoff from oil buring power plants…as well as fertilizer and a wide assortment of body parts. Point being you could definitely see the effects in the local populace, especially the kids. Just made me a little more paranoid…then I came back to read about the AK steel thing and I found it quite disturbing.

I got into the enviro stuff

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and it is a constant argument so I backed away and decided to just enjoy paddlin'.

By all means do what you want but testing is a very involved without an end situation and lots of politics. The kits and consumable items are expensive. We have rivers here in Georgia wher it has taken 5 years oftesting to provide any significant results and still nothing was done.

You find that many time the forrest is overlooked because of a tree and now soil erosion from new construction into a stream is the biggest issue because it can be easily seen.

Hey P-bliss!!!
I just want say WELCOME HOME!! and to thank you for SERVING our COUNTRY.

from a Nam vet!

A lot of companies will get rid of their waste the cheapest way they know how without getting caught. When it comes to choosing our leaders…it’s too bad we don’t have a media that values fact-finding and issues , rather than who goes to bed with whom.

if you follow that line of inquiry
you get fired

who do you think owns the press?

widespread pharmaceutical contamination
The latest scientific revelation. http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20000401/fob1.asp


actually known in Europe for years but recently being brought to light in the U.S. it has got to be pretty bad for aquatic life and now showing up in tap water.

So stop peeing America !

Don’t stop peeing:

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Just pee as nature intended - outside.


Oh yeah, the old Calgon plant dumped a lot of interesting things back in the 60s and 70s too.

> can you recommend a test kit or method

There are hundreds of analytical standardized methods to analyze water and sediments. They all require special training and expensive apparatus like chromatographs or spectrometers. No way to do it while paddling or at home.

You can use test stripes for aquariums or garden soil, but they only tell you about the pH value or some nitrogen/phosphorous compounds, nothing about mercury or other pollutants.

(I’m working in analytical chemistry)

Bacterial contamination
As stated above, it’s hard to test for a lot of industrial poluntants like heavy metals, pesticides etc. But one indicator of water quality from a biological point of view are the fecal coliform bacteria. Test kits for coliform bacteria are readily available, and you can have results that indicate the levels of fecal coliform bacteria fairly quickly.

Water polluted with high levels of colifirm bacteria will make you sick quickly and immediately, and can be an indicator of overall water quality levels. If the fecal coliform levels are high, then the body of water isn’t being monitored very well, and could have many other pollutants in it.