INTRODUCTION As the population of the greater Nashville area increases and urban growth intrudes on natural areas, such as streams and rivers, water health can become questionable due to an influx of pollutants. Rivers and streams have a significant impact on communities and ecosystems as they are commonly used to catch groundwater and they boost biodiversity.
APPROACH To compare urban streams to more rural waterways, this study compared water quality from Richland Creek, which runs through a suburban area of Nashville, to the Little Harpeth, which runs through a metro park outside of the city. Several different metrics were evaluated in the two creeks, including nitrate, phosphate, and dissolved oxygen levels. Measurements were taken weekly at a single point in both creeks for sixty second intervals. Water samples were collected weekly for testing at the lab.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION The results revealed no statistically significant differences between the streams among any of the metrics measured. However, nitrate levels exceeded the EPA standard in Richland Creek, which indicates potential eutrophication. Further, Richland Creek’s proximity to urbanized areas could be connected with the higher observed nitrate levels. Additionally, a principal component analysis revealed variations in the metrics among the collection dates, indicating that more frequent measurements are necessary in order to draw conclusions. Lastly, this study provides suggestions for stream remediation based on field observations and lab results.