Sediment Sampling in the Sound

My “Analytical Techniques and Instrumentation” class spent today out in New Haven Harbor taking sediment samples. 

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We took a boat from the Sound School, a public/magnet high school in New Haven that has a focus on aquaculture and marine studies.

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Here’s their boat, the Sound Rover.

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Here’s part of the Sound School.  It’s built right on the water with its own pier.

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We selected sampling locations on a map of the harbor.  We tried to cover areas that we suspected to be especially contaminated, as well as areas that we hoped would be clean.  In the lab, we plan to test for iron, copper and zinc.

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One of the areas we chose to sample was under the Quinnipiac Bridge.  We expect to find contaminants here since I-95  is right above.

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We also sampled the sediments near the terminals, where petroleum and other materials are emptied from huge boats.

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Here’s an oil tanker.  Other areas we hypothesize will be contaminated are near a wastewater plant, storm drains, a marina, and a dredged area.

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Here’s lighthouse park, an area that we hope will have little contamination.  We’re also hoping the commercial oyster beds we sampled will be clean, as well as the area outside the breakwaters.

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The New Haven skyline.

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We used this ponar grab to sample the sediments at the bottom.  Metals settle out of the water into the sediments, which is why we’re not testing the water.

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Here’s one of the sediment samples that we collected.  You can see the distinct layers in it.  We had to be careful to clean everything thoroughly between sampling to avoid cross-contamination.

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Back in the lab, we prepared the samples to go into the drying oven over the long weekend.  When we return to class on Monday, we’ll begin to test for iron, zinc and copper.

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5 Comments

Filed under Outside, Sustainable Living

5 responses to “Sediment Sampling in the Sound

  1. a great photo journey of a worth task . . . I can’t wait to hear more about your findings.

    What a valuable class!

    • I think it’s valuable, too. I finally get to DO the science that I read so much about. I’m also anxiously anticipating the results. I’ve been thinking about doing something like this for my second M.S. thesis, unless I decide to do a special project.

  2. What a cool class and what great pictures! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. Do you know how many people would like to spend their class on a boat?

  3. That all looks so interesting! I can’t wait to read more about this.

  4. Pingback: Digital Signature Algorithm » Blog Archive » Ice core

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