Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Room: Exhibit Hall A
DeArrius Rhymes - University of Mississippi
Co-Author(s): Jasmine Pippins, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS; Jacobi Holt, Alcorn State University, Lorman, MS; Cayla Harris, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Billy Barquedier Sub-Watershed (BBSW) is a sub-watershed located in the North Stann Creek Watershed in the Stann Creek District, Belize. The Billy Barquedier National Park consist of six sites for water quality monitoring and provides potable water to Steadfast, Alta Vista and Valley Community. In Billy Barquedier National Park, there are four zones with six sites known as streams that vary in size and segue into one large river. Five of the streams flow into the largest site, Site 6, which is the primary source of water for drinking, eating, and other recreational uses for the residents of the surrounding villages. The objectives of this study is to compare the quality of water via physical, chemical, and microbial parameters between Site 6 in BBNP, and the water provided to the residents of the upper and lower catchment sites in Steadfast Village, the primary recipient of Site 6. In this study one water sample from Site 6 and one faucet sample from fourteen households split amongst the upper and lower catchment sites were collected in the Steadfast Village. Households four and fourteen are the only exceptions, being that a faucet and bucket water sample were collected. Thus, a total of seventeen water samples were collected for physical, chemical, and microbial analysis. The physical and chemical parameters were measured with a YSI DSS Multimeter and a HACH DR 900 Colorimeter, respectfully. Moreover, microbial analysis was performed via a serial dilution technique and culturing to test for the presence of lactose fermenting and non-lactose fermenting bacteria on MacConkey Agar plates. Throughout the study the physical parameters were all within the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and World Health Organization (WHO) regulatory standards, except for turbidity which appeared to be significantly higher than the standard range for drinking water. Temperature ranged between 25-28.6 degrees Celsius, pH ranged between 6.9-7.7, conductivity ranged between 72-103 uS/cm, Dissolved Oxygen (DO) ranged between 7.7-8.1mg/L and 98.8- 102 %. Turbidity ranged between 0-14 NTU for the vast majority of Steadfast households as well as Site 6 surpassing the safe drinking water standard. It is also important to note that the increase in turbidity has a direct correlation with the increase in altitude and total dissolved solids (TDS). Moreover, the chemical parameters of the study were low in comparison to the EPA standards for total chlorine and high nitrate present with the exception of phosphate, which was generally above EPA standards at all of the sample sites. Results also indicated a general increase in concentration amongst lactose and non-lactose fermenting bacteria. Lactose fermenting bacteria ranged between 50-104 CFU/mL, and non lactose fermenting bacteria ranged between 90- 14,700 CFU/mL with household eight being too numerous to count (TNTC). Being that the EPA and WHO regulatory standards for the amount of microbial content in safe drinking water being 0 CFU/mL, the data presented is alarming. Thus, a purification process needs to be mandated amongst all Steadfast Households for safe drinking consumption. Overall, understanding the general necessity for proper water management is important in order to appreciate the resource itself and maintain it for the health of all who benefit from the BBNP.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): The Louis Stokes Mississippi Alliances for Minority Participation (LSMAMP) program
Faculty Advisor: Jacquline Vinson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: For this research, I participated with my colleagues by going out into the Steadfast Village and Billy Barquedier National Park (BBNP) to retrieve 14 water samples from randomly selected households and 1 water sample from Site 6 (the water fall - being the water source of the Steadfast Village). Once the physical portions were complete, my colleagues and I, dissected various physical, chemical, and microbial parameters of the water sample we retrieved. After all work was completed, I was able to solidify my research experience in Belize by presenting the Methodology portion of our research in a PowerPoint slide made by our group; this information we presented to the rest of our research team, to our research coordinators, and to other STEM faculty and staff members at the University of Belize.