DeKalb County Watersheds, DeKalb County Illinois

Data - DeKalb County’s Watersheds

We cannot measure the improvements in our watersheds without monitoring our progress. In conjunction with NIU faculty and students, and teachers and students at local high schools, monthly monitoring has taken place at 9 sites in the East Branch Watershed and 9 sites in the Upper Middle Kishwaukee Watershed. By sampling year round we are able to identify the cycles generated by changing weather and land use. Results to date are summarized in this presentation by the NIU Department of Environmental Studies team.

What’s in the water? There are several elements, nutrients and pollutants, that make their way from the land into the water. Some of these elements can be beneficial, but most often they impair the wildlife in the streams and ultimately impact us. Stream quality is determined by the number and diversity of the wildlife found in and around it. Impairments are determined by the number and concentration of the elements found in the stream.

Just as a blood test identifies issues in humans, these monthly analyses identify issues in the stream. The following chart lists the elements/compounds used as indicators. And, just as there are acceptable ranges for each component of our blood panel, acceptable ranges are used in water quality analysis. They are also included in the chart.

Stream Data -The raw data collected at each site can be accessed using the Queries page

 

Parameter

Detection Method

Normal Range

MCL (EPA or WHO)

Notes

pH

HACH

6-9

6.5-8.5


A reading outside the 6-9 range will not support aquatic life.

Temperature

HACH

0-25oC


Will vary seasonally, but temperatures above 25oC can be harmful for aquatic life.

Electrical Conductivity

HACH

50-1500 µS/cm


Highly dependent on bedrock geology, but a spill event could increase the E.C. past 1500 µS/cm.

Dissolved Oxygen

HACH

Above 3 ppm


Dissolved oxygen (DO) below 3 ppm in surface water will not support aquatic life

ORP

HACH

Positive number

none

Positive number indicates oxidizing environment

Alkalinity

Exact Micro 20+ Meter

Varies


This is a measure of the compounds in the water that will work to keep the pH in its proper range.

Ammonia

Exact Micro 20+ Meter

Below 0.1 ppm


Ammonia is toxic, but degrades rapidly. A reading above 0.1 ppm would indicate recent animal waste, human waste or fertilizer contamination.

Calcium Hardness

Exact Micro 20+ Meter

Highly variable


Measures the amount of dissolved calcium in the water. Typically high in Northern Illinois due to limestone bedrock.

Free Chlorine

Exact Micro 20+ Meter

Below 1 ppm


This is the amount of chlorine in the water that is available for reaction. Toxic to aquatic life.

Sulfide

Exact Micro 20+ Meter

Below 2 ppm


Occurs from natural geologic sources and microbes. High concentrations could result from contamination.

Nitrate

Exact Micro 20+ Meter

Below 10 ppm (NO3-N) or 44 ppm NO3


High levels may indicate animal waste, human waste or fertilizer contamination.

Nitrite

Exact Micro 20+ Meter

Below 1 ppm

1 ppm

High levels may indicate animal waste, human waste or fertilizer contamination.

Phosphate

Exact Micro 20+ Meter

Below 0.1 ppm


Above 0.1 ppm may indicate animal waste, human waste, or fertilizer contamination. Can cause algal blooms and low DO.

Sulfate

Exact Micro 20+ Meter

Below 250 ppm


Highly influenced by geologic and natural sources.

Total Hardness

Exact Micro 20+ Meter

Highly variable, but below 500 ppm


Highly dependent on bedrock geology. This measures the amount of calcium and magnesium in the water.

Total Iron

Exact Micro 20+ Meter

Below 1 ppm


Can come from natural and industrial sources.

Turbidity





Total Chlorine





Fluoride

Exact Micro 20+ Meter

0.04 to 1.50 ppm

4.0 ppm

Source from igneous rocks and clays

Chloride





Bromide





Mn

Exact Micro 20+ Meter

1.01 to 1.50 ppm

0.05 ppm

naturally occurring and essential component of biological systems; black to brown color; black staining; bitter metallic taste; Secondary MCL

Al





Cu





E. coli

Coliert

0 Drinking water; Present in surface water

0

Bacteria associated with feces; indicator organisms of potential disease

Coliform

Coliert

0 drinking water: present in surface water

0

Bacteria associated with feces; indicator organisms of potential disease