A group of five students from Trinity Western University are shedding light on the impact of urban areas on local water quality.
Sebastian Wingfield, Gillian Curtis, Kari Miedema, Sarah Patterson-Cole and Bethany Hitchman have been working with the Langley Environmental Partners Society to study water quality through the collection of macroinvertebrate species.
“Through inspecting the presence or absence of pollution intolerant macroinvertebrates in both urban and rural streams, the students were able to monitor the ongoing health of the streams,” said Hitchman in an email to the Langley Times.
“Existence of pollution intolerant species reveals not only current healthy water, but proves that the water has always been pollution free, enabling these species to live on.”
The students, who conducted the study as part of a global environmental issues class, collected data at Yorkson Creek — located in an urban community — and West Creek — located in a more rural area. They found multiple pollution intolerant species in the rural creek, but not in the urban one.
“Pollution intolerant species are ones that can only survive in excellent water quality. Since these species were not found at Yorkson Creek, in the urban built up community, the students are led to believe that the water quality in this stream may not be as healthy,” Hitchman wrote.
“Possible contributors to the pollution in Yorkson Creek, which runs through Walnut Grove, could be the dumping of contaminated substances in homes, or runoff from roads that are contaminated with oil and other chemicals.”
The students also cleaned large amounts of garbage around the creeks when conducting their studies.
“Although no startling new discoveries have been made, the students hope that their work will raise awareness to the fact that stream water in metropolitan neighborhoods is directly affected by those living in the area, and that as responsible members of society and our planet at large, we must take action to ensure that water quality and the animals who live in that water are not harmed by our lifestyles,” Hitchman wrote.
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