Water Quality Monitoring of Copeland Creek

Supervised by Dr. Mark Perri
SSU Chemistry Department

Dr. Mark Perri

Description of Project: What?

In 2010-2011, Dr. Mark Perri created new chemistry labs for his Honors Chemistry class (Chemistry 125B). The labs required students to sample and analyze ions (phosphate, sulfate, chloride, and fluoride) in Copeland Creek water in conjunction with a larger watershed contamination analysis effort. Dr. Perri's new lessons would not have been possible without improved water sampling equipment purchased with help from the Learn and Serve Grant.

Dr. Perri also took students to the Fairfield Osborn Preserve, which is just below the headwaters of Copeland Creek, for additional water sampling. This field trip was designed to help students understand more about the need to monitor water.

Description of Project: So What?

Course learning objectives mapped directly to the service and included the following:

  1. Learn details of general and quantitative chemistry, including atomic structure, stoichiometry, chemical reactions, gas laws, acid/base and redox chemistry, thermodynamics, gravimetric analysis, titrations, chemical equilibrium, and spectrophotometry. Students' sampling required them to learn "details of general and quantitative chemistry," including use of dilutions and calibration curves.
  2. Be exposed to the “analytical process” and learn how to choose the correct instrument and procedure to carry out quantitative analysis, as well as the statistics needed to evaluate the results. Students had to "choose the correct instrument and procedure to carry out quantitative analysis," as evidenced by their use of an ion chromatograph. They evaluated their results in the form of lab reports.

Description of Project: Now What?

Students are still collecting data needed to draw conclusions. Dr. Perri believes future collaborations with a water agency would be attractive. He also appreciates that his students enjoyed their Fairfield Osborn Preserve lab more than a typical lab in Darwin and plans to include service-learning in his spring 2012 Chemistry 125B class.