At this point in the semester, the chemical analysis of the water samples and their sediments collected from Coney Island Creek, the Gowanus Canal, and Newtown Creek has been completed. Using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) we were able to determine the presence of micro-pollutants found in the sediments extracted from the water samples. Using atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) we were able to determine the concentration of heavy metals such as: lead, nickel, and cobalt found in the water samples.
Results from GC-MS showed the presence of 2, 4-bis (1-methyl-1-phenylethyl) phenol, 11-bromoundecanamide, squalene, tetradecanamide, octadecane, 9-octadecenamide, skatole, hexatriacontane, nonadecane, docosane, 2-(tetradecyloxy) ethanol, nonacosane, triacontane, eicosane, heptacosane, and cyclotetradecane. 2, 4-bis (1-methyl-1-phenylethyl) phenol was found the only compound found in all three sites, and skatole was found both the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek. The remaining compounds were only found in one of the three sites. Majority of the compounds that were identified are hydrocarbons. These are typically associated with petroleum and natural gas. The remaining compounds are used for manufacturing, in cosmetics, as lubricants, in food, and some are naturally occurring in animals and in fecal matter.
Results from AAS showed that the concentration of all three metals (leas, nickel, and cobalt) was below 1 ppm for all of the samples. The concentrations were above the average concentration found in surface water, and above the recommended concentration for drinking water. Accepted concentrations include 0.015 ppm of lead in drinking water and 0.003 ppm in surface water, 0.002-0.004 ppm of nickel in drinking water and 0.0005-0.025 ppm in surface water, and 0.001-0.002 ppm of cobalt in drinking water and 0.001-0.01 ppm in ground water.
After filtering the water samples to remove the sediments the samples were placed back in the refrigerator to await analysis. The filter paper with the sediments were collected and each was placed into separate containers. These were placed in 10 mL of a liquid chemical and left sitting in order to dilute the sediments making it possible for analysis of such sediments in the near future. Currently the filtered water has only been looked at to determine the presence of heavy metals and their concentrations in these bodies of water. I still have to inject the samples into GC-MS to determine the types of micro-pollutants that are present in these three bodies of water that are considered to be highly contaminated.
Moving forward I have to return to all three sites to collect more water in order to rerun the tests and analysis that are being run on the first samples. After analyzing the results from the GC-MS part, it would be interesting to see if the micro-pollutants are the same as the ones that were found in the samples from the Hudson River in lower Manhattan last year. Many of these were traces of feces or traces of plastics. Being that these sites are deemed to be highly polluted centers in NYC I would hope and expect to see many types and different types of chemicals after the analysis is performed.
Being awarded the UGR grant late, I was only able to recently start my project. this study focuses on the analysis of samples of water collected from three different bodies of water around NYC. These sites include Coney Island Creek, the Gowanus Canal, and Newtown Creek. These three sites were specifically chosen because they have been known to be highly polluted sites and therefore I thought it would be interesting to see the types of micro-pollutants and the metal content found at these sites in order to compare them to the results I obtained from the areas in lower Manhattan.
The project is currently underway. I went out to the sites and collected 2 liters of water from each site back on November 12th. Since then the samples have been brought back to the lab and I have filtered the samples. This has been done in order to collect the sediments and other such materials present in the water so that they can be analyzed separately. This process does however leave the micro-pollutants and metal in the water content which allows them to be analyzed using GC-MS(gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) for the micro-pollutants and AAS(atomic absorption spectroscopy ) for the metal content.
As mentioned in my previous post, my research is based on the pollutants found within the different bodies of water that surround New York City. In order to determine the types of pollutants found in the water, the water was physically and chemically analyzed. The members of the Billion Oyster Project, have given us access to all their sites and oyster cages around New York City. These sites include their site on Governors Island, and their sites at Battery Park, Hudson River Park, and the surrounding areas. It is from these sites that we have collected water samples and sediments.
We have been monitoring these sites weekly, and have begun taking their PH, dissolved oxygen, and conductivity reading both on site and back at the lab. The PH readings have shown us that the water is slightly basic as the PH readings are high in the 7 range. The conductivity readings have been ranging between 24,000µs/cm and 25,000µs/cm readings. This data is being compared with data found in published papers to see how polluted the water is or if the oyster beds are actually helping clean our waters. We are running chemical analysis back at the lab using the atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS), high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to help us determine what chemicals are found in the waters surrounding the city. We continue to run these tests to see how the water quality improves weekly. Hopefully we will be able to continue working on this project in the winter in order to see a change over and an improvement in the water quality over a longer period.
My research is based on the pollutants that are found within the different bodies of water that surround New York City. In order to determine these types of pollutants, water samples must be chemically analyzed. To complete this research we are collaborating with the members of the Billion Oyster Project, as they will help us collect water samples and sediments from the sites where they have placed their oyster beds.
Thus far, I have read the Billon Oyster Project manual which explains the protocols that they use to collect data from each of their different sites. I have also read several other scientific documents that provide me with background knowledge on the subject. I have been to Governor’s Island with Dr. Mojica alongside one of my research team members to see how the oyster beds are kept and to get an idea of how we will be collecting our water and sediment samples. While some of our tests will be done on site, such as the dissolved oxygen test, we will be bringing water samples back to the laboratory where the samples will be analyzed using atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS), high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). We will be heading back out to Governor’s Island this Wednesday to collect our first samples and then we will collect samples from different sites around the city in the upcoming days.