Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Subcategory: Environmental Engineering
Naomi Walker - Texas Southern University
Co-Author(s): Maruthi Sridhar Balaji Bhaskar, and Djene Keita
The Buffalo Bayou has been the main waterway in Houston since before the nineteenth century. Water from Buffalo Bayou was used for crop cultivation, navigation and for day to day living activities. With intense urbanization of Houston, the bayou became polluted with industrial, domestic and storm water runoff. Buffalo Bayou is no longer a clean source of water for human and animal consumption, recreation and fishing. The main goal of our research is to map the landscape level nutrient and metal contamination along Buffalo Bayou. The objectives of our research are 1) to identify the temporal trends of the water quality in the bayou, 2) to identify the nutrient and metal concentrations in the water and soil samples along the Buffalo Bayou and 3) to develop the spatial water quality maps of the bayou using GIS. Soil and water samples were collected from several sampling locations along the bayou during the summer of 2017. All the sampling locations were identified with a GPS handheld unit which helped to geolocate the exact sampling points along the bayou. The soil and water samples were immediately brought to the lab and prepared for analysis using the ICP-MS (Inductive Couple Plasma Mass Spectrometry) instrument and the TCN (Total Carbon Nitrogen) instrument. The GPS sampling locations were downloaded into the Geographical Information System (GIS) to identify and visualize the location of our sampling sites and to develop the spatial maps of the different chemical parameters The chemical concentrations of the water at the upstream sampling locations of Buffalo Bayou were compared with downstream sampling locations, which in turn were compared with historical data that was analyzed for various contaminants to determine the condition of the water over the past several years. The soil samples collected from the flood plains of the bayou were analyzed using the handheld X-Ray Florescence (XRF) analyzer to determine the metal concentrations. Our results from the historical water quality data analysis shows that the chemical characteristics of the bayou water have not changed significantly since the 1970?s, but the physical characteristics has in fact became more contaminated based on reports of color from the bayou. The total Carbon and Nitrogen analysis of the bayou water collected from the upstream and downstream locations do not show any significant differences in the water quality between the locations. Our results from the soil analysis shows that the Fe, Zn, S, Ba, Pb, and Ni concentrations in the flood plain soil samples were higher compared to the background. This research shows and maps the spatial distribution of nutrient and metal concentrations along the Buffalo Bayou. This research was primarily supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Texas Southern University (TSU) under the award numbers HRD-1400962 and HRD-1622993.Final_ERN abstract Naomi_Walker_2017EdtBhaska.docx
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This study was supported, in part, by the grant from National Science Foundation (NSF) Targeted Infusion and Research Initiation grants to Maruthi Sridhar Balaji Bhaskar, Department of Environmental and Interdisciplinary Sciences, Texas Southern University, Houston, TX 77004
Faculty Advisor: Maruthi Sridhar Balaji Bhaskar, email@example.com
Role: Soil, Chemical and Geographical Information System analysis.