Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2016CO324B

Water sampling and the effects of plastic absorption on heavy metals

Institute: Colorado
Year Established: 2016 Start Date: 2016-03-01 End Date: 2017-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $3,200 Total Non-Federal Funds: Not available

Principal Investigators: Randi Brazeau

Abstract: For this proposed research project, we would like to examine the effects of plastic absorpotion on aqueous heavy metals. We believe that variations in sampling techniques, along with storage conditions, may be the cause for inaccurate reported values in heavy metals in surface water. To determine likely conditions, we will be looking at the recent Colorado Gold King Mine spill and the data recordings collected in the Las Animas River. Due to environmental concerns and the levels we have reviewed, we will be focusing mainly on lead, arsenic, and cadmium. To mimic the river water samples collected from locations along the Las Animas, we will be using river water spiked with concentrations of the metals of concern. The levels used will be obtained by looking at the second highest recorded values taken the day after the mine drainage spill. There will be a total of twelve samples including two controls. Half of the samples will be stored in glass containers and the other half in plastic. Bi-weekly results will be recorded using an ICP-MS and a total carbon analyzer for total carbon, total nitrogen, and heavy metal levels in each of the twelve containers. Our hypothesis is that, over time, we will see indications of metal absorption in the plastic container samples.