Senior Technical Director, Brent Dayharsh and Staff Environmental Scientist, Andy White, complete creek sampling to test for contaminant levels along the river.
As summer is now in full swing most of can’t stop thinking about ways to cool off in the water. The same holds true for our scientists and engineers.
Brent Dayharsh and Andy White have taken a different approach than what most of us would consider summer fun in the water. Instead of swimming or jumping off the high dive, Dayharsh and White have been testing for petroleum impacts at one job site in Indiana.
Creek sampling is done by finding an area along the creek where a smaller stream flows into the river. Once this spot is located, the scientists then go about collecting one sample upstream where a smaller stream flows into the river and another sample downstream to see if the smaller stream is contributing any contaminant to the river.
As one would expect, the collecting of creek sampling can be as consistent as the winding river itself. White explains three different outcomes, “Sometimes we find that the contaminant concentrations are equal upstream and downstream.” This would indicate the smaller stream is contributing a contaminant concentration equal to the concentrations in the larger stream.
The second outcome is the upstream sample is greater, leading to the conclusion that the smaller stream is diluting the river. As White enlightened, “it lowers the overall contaminant concentration.” Thirdly, if the downstream sample is greater, the smaller stream may be contaminating the river.
The field measurements only take a few minutes to gather but processing the data usually takes the analytical laboratory 1-2 weeks. “Creek sampling at certain points along the river benefits everyone” White said, “it helps trace the source of the contaminate(s) that can get into our drinking water supply and potentially harm us.”