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Environmental Science Lab Report
The speedily expanding population has led to high demand for water and food. This growth also leads to increased demand for land for settlement purposes. With this population growth, the need for proper planning and expanded research becomes a necessity. Various research has been conducted by environmentalists to identify analyze and give the correct advice on various issues such as nutrients levels in the soil. In line with this, experiments have been conducted to identify the infiltration which in turn expounds on how the soils absorb water. Infiltration is a crucial practice because it guides on type of irrigation and the designing of the drainage system. Infiltration also plays a major role in evaluation of the levels of contamination, water pans, ground water recharge, drought and more so flood management (Cunningham, 2015). Infiltration is the process in which water on the ground percolates into the soil. Infiltration capacity on the other hand is the maximum rate of infiltration. Infiation study is applied in both soil science and hydrology.
The storm water resulting from rainfall together with molten ice and snow can also percolate in the soil. This process is referred to as storm water infiltration (Ferguson 2017). The storm water can infiltrate or run on the surface which may result to washing away of soil nutrients and draining them into rivers, ponds, lakes, and oceans. Research studies have proved that runoff pollutant in urban results to deterioration of water quality (Crabill 1999). Bearing in mind of all this fact, we carried out an intense research in our school Stetson University, Michigan avenue(I3Group), to examine nutrient levels of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and potassium in the soil after infiltration. While undertaking the experiment, we were guided by three pre practical questions which included; i).do our storm water basins have the ability and capacity to hold all storm water runs off the campus during an average 2″/hr storm?. We ought to make a comparison between the rate of discharge in the campus and the total discharge rate of the basins (ii). Do nutrients accumulate at the bottom of the basins (iii). Are excess nutrients running off to the campus?.iv).Is the basin providing the filtration that is supposed to?. v). How does the soil texture relate with infiltration and nutrient concentration in the basin?
In order to Answer the question highlighted above, I did perform a number of experiments which included ;The rate of infiltration at an adjacent elevated surface; The rate of infiltration of the storm water basin; The area of storm water basin; The discharge capacity(QC) of the storm water basin; The level of Nitrogen, phosphorous and Potassium nutrients. It was important to note that infiltration is affected by factors such as slope, soil texture, soil moisture, and organic materials in the soil. From the class book reading, it is evident that if the area covered by the basin contains compacted soil like moist clay organic matter, infiltration rate tends to be slow.
The data collection for the experiment was conducted within the vicinity of
our school on 24th of September 1st of October. On 24th, the weather was dry and sunny while on 1st October the weather was cloudy. In the experiment, the observation was on the method used to collect the raw data because it was clear to see what was happening and be able to record the results. After pouring water into the three holes dug on the ground, I started the clock to record the level of water infiltration after three minutes in all the three holes. After the experiment, soil sample from the three holes were taken. I used the color-based reagents to help me in identifying the nutrients present in the basin soil. After conducting the experiments, I started to answer the specified questions that guided me throughout the experiment. One of the questions was to determine whether storm water basins had the capacity to hold all storm water that runs off campus.
To elaborate this further, I manipulated the obtained data to provide response to the questions. I compared the QC water for the campus by using the campus map to calculate the total area of the campus discharge and the area of preference on sample taking. This was done in different parts of the campus. The flow rate of storm water was observed to be 21.7 in comparison to 40.2 of basins infiltration rate.
The figures are a total of basin water infiltration rate and the basin discharge capacity. Therefore QC=infiltration rate × area of the storm water basin. The figures depict that the storm water basin is capable of holding the storm water that runs off the campus. The other question was to determine if the nutrients accumulation was at the bottom of the basin or in the running off the campus. It is observed that the most nutritious soil is the topmost part Which contains organic matter.
From the experiment it clear that most of the soil nutrients in the campus are washed away because the topsoil is sand which have poor water retention. It is also established that nutrients do not accumulate at the bottom due to running water washing them away. This shows that basin infiltration Rate has an impact on concentration. During the study mean statistical model was employed. This method applies averages to make comparisons. Nutrients concentration was determined from the graph through observation after the plotting the concentration levels against infiltration rates for the three nutrients.
|Location||Infiltration at||storm water||water||(Qc) Qc =|
|see||adj elevated||Basin infi||base||inf rate x|
|map||surface(m/s)||rate(m/s)||area (m2)||area (m3/s)||N inside||P inside||K inside|
|0.827||Total Qc for basins||60.82625||85.71||27.86||105.71|
Graph of basin infiltration against Nitrogen nutrient
|Stormwater Basin Infiltration Rate (m/s)||[N] Inside|
Graph of basin infiltration against Phosphorous nutrient
|Stormwater Basin Infiltration Rate (m/s)||[P] Inside|
Graph of basin infiltration against Potassium nutrient
|Stormwater Basin Infiltration Rate (m/s)||[K] Inside|
From the above tables and graphs, we can see their relationship between the infiltration rate and soil nutrients. Table1 and Graph one shows the infiltration rate and soil concentration of nitrogen as soil nutrient. From the graph, we notice that the level of nitrogen concentration increases with an increase in the infiltration rate. Since infiltration is affected by many factors, we see from the graph that point 0.006 has a higher nitrogen concentration level than other points. Table 2 and Graph 2 shows phosphorus concentration level sand infiltration rate. From the graph, we notice that that there is a decrease in phosphorus level as the infiltration rate increases. Therefore, faster infiltration rates affect phosphorus concentration, which must be regulated to ensure the nutrients are maintained in the soil.
Table 3 and Graph three shows potassium concentration levels. Potassium concentration levels appear to be fluctuating as infiltration rates increase. From the results above, potassium concentration in the soil is not significantly affected by infiltration rates, but other factors such as soil texture and soil moisture may influence the concentration levels. Soil texture can help wash away the nutrients since the same soil cannot filter them due to its surface.
The primary nutrients found in the soil that promotes healthy growth of plants are Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium. The nutrients also lead to increase in productivity. There is dire need to ensure that these nutrients are available in the soil. From the experiment the rate of infiltration and nutrients concentration was determined. The relationship between the two was also analyzed. It was established that high infiltration rates lead to a decrease in phosphorous concentration in the soil which is Contrary to nitrogen and Potassium. It is also established that storm water basin could accommodate all storm water that runs off the campus. The hypothesis of the study is that if the basin areas have compact soil like moist clay organic matter, the infiltration rate could be less.
The results and analysis of the experiment support the hypothesis because it is found that sandy soil areas had the highest infiltration rate, which from the experiment was 0.12. It also supports the expanded themes elaborated in the introduction part. Infiltration is crucial in irrigation drainage, designing of the drainage systems and controlling of floods. Infiltration rates can also be of importance to the engineers in designing drainage systems in towns and cities. Farmers also utilize the knowledge of infiltration rates to determine the type of irrigation to apply 8n their farms. (Ohno et.al.2015). The major challenge experienced when conducting the experiment was that there was no room for experimenting the infiltration rates on steep areas. No arising questions emerged because the study and experiments catered for all pre laid questions, which were all adequately answered.
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