Physical, Chemical, and Biological Monitoring of the Satilla River
Austin, Katy L.
MetadataShow full item record
Water quality has become an increasingly important issue in coastal Georgia. In 1999, the University of Georgia Marine Extension Service initiated a five year water quality investigation of Georgia's five major coastal rivers. Physical, chemical and biological monitoring on the Satilla River began in February 2000. Monitored field parameters included temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH, chlorophyll a, turbidity, and light attenuation profiles. Surface and bottom water samples were collected for laboratory analysis of biological oxygen demand, MPN total and fecal coliform bacteria, total suspended solids, ATP, total and inorganic carbon, total nitrogen, ammonia nitrogen (NH₃), nitrate/nitrite nitrogen (NO₃⁻/NO₂⁻) and orthophosphate ion (PO₄³⁻) concentrations. Salinity and dissolved oxygen decreased up river, while chlorophyll a and turbidity increased. Normal pH levels were maintained throughout the sampling period in the Satilla River. Preliminary results show up river increases in bacteria, total suspended solids and ATP. In a few cases, MPN bacteria counts exceeded the accepted level of 100 organisms per 100 mL. The average BOD concentration was 1.32 mg/L. In general, nutrient levels increased up river with surface concentrations often higher than bottom concentrations. The data collected on the Satilla River will be incorporated into a comprehensive and predictive computer model of the river, being developed by Dr. Changsheng Chen of the University of Georgia School of Marine Programs. This model will put scientific information into an easily understood, visual format and will be valuable in educating the public and decision makers about water quality and aid in making sound decisions that will protect water quality.