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An analysis of the effectiveness of wetlands to self filter

The goal of this study is to see how effective wetlands are at self-filtering pollutants and contaminants from their water. The location we have chosen for this project is the wetland that runs from the research area behind Westfield State University to the Westfield River. Wetlands, along with being a key habitat location for a variety of species, also allows for a chemical-free filtration process. The key to the self-filtration in a wetland comes down to the flora located within the water of the wetland. As water that contains pollutants and/or contaminants makes its way through the water, the larger molecules, such as silt and sand, slow and settle at the bottom. While the smaller molecules, such as excess nitrogen and phosphorus, move farther down and are absorbed by the root systems of growing plants. To test the effectiveness of this process, we tested three locations along the wetland. A stream beside the Westfield River was used as a control. Using the hydro lab, we collected temperature, specific conductivity, dissolved oxygen, and pH readings. Due to logistical issues, LaMotte kits were used later in the study to collect readings of the concentration of nitrogen and phosphorus within the wetland.

Sean Alioto '22, Spencer TeWinkle '22
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