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Lessons on the Lake -> Chapter List -> Chapter 5 -> Lesson 7: Measuring Water Quality

WATER QUALITY

How do we measure water quality?
What is clean water?
What is polluted water?

In order to protect human health and aquatic life, government agencies set water quality standards that are measured in milligrams per liter (mg/L)— or parts per million (ppm). Some pollutants are measured in parts per thousand (ppt), while others are measured in parts per billion (ppb).

There are many outstanding activities that you can do to explore
water quality. You may even choose to take on water quality issues in the
Lake Pontchartrain Basin as an action plan. Refer to Pages 119-121.

Factors that affect water quality generally fall into three major
categories: biological, chemical, and physical. These factors must meet
water quality standards set by the state of Louisiana. Here is a chart of
the major water quality factors found in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin.

These are only some of the factors that affect the Basin’s water quality.

Which others can you investigate?

Which factors are problems in your area?

Do you ever wonder why you can’t swim in Lake Pontchartrain and other bodies of water in the Basin?

The Basin covers a large area, so there are many natural and human activities that depend on our water resources —- cities and towns, farms and ranches, business and industry, and recreation.

Using the SOURCES column of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Water Quality Factors chart (Page 113), work with a partner and brainstorm a list of places and things in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin that use water and affect its quality. You might want to refer to a map of the area for some ideas. Compare and contrast your list with the rest of the class.

As you can see, water use in the Basin is extensive, so water quality is always a concern. If a family of four uses about 300 gallons of water in their home each day, just think of how many additional gallons are needed for growing food and for industrial use.

We must wrestle with ways to make the most efficient use of water, our liquid asset. We must gain an awareness or conservation of water and develop a willingness to do all we can to conserve it.

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  1. Introduction
  2. Essential Questions
  3. Water Cycle
  4. Activity: Water Cycle Walk
  5. Quiz: Daily Water Use
  6. Activity: Brainstorming
  7. Measuring Water Quality
  8. Water Pollution
  9. Project F.U.R.
  10. Activity: Mini Action Plan
  11. Activity: Journaling
  12. Activity: How's the Water?