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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Instream aeration of the Serpentine River Town, Christopher Albert


Urban encroachment and intensive agricultural pursuits within the Serpentine-Nicomekl watershed (in proximity to Vancouver, B.C.) have caused a number of serious fish kills on the Serpentine River since 1980. Low dissolved oxygen levels were responsible for these kills. This study investigated some of the dynamic chemical and biological relationships within the river, as well as artificial aeration as a pollution abatement or in-situ improvement measure. Weekly sampling from July to December, 1985, inclusive, established a solid data base from which inciteful interrelationships were deduced. A strong correlation between chlorophyll-a and dissolved oxygen levels supported the hypothesis that, algae blooms dying in the Fall, create a massive oxygen demand. A prototype, (457 m) artificial aeration line was designed, installed and monitored to evaluate its potential for alleviating low dissolved oxygen conditions experienced in the Fall periods. The aeration system operated successfully during September, October and November of 1985; however, because of ideal weather conditions, dissolved oxygen levels never dropped below 7.3 mg/L, so the opportunity to evaluate in-situ oxygen transfer did not arise in 1985. Nevertheless, the data base generated supports the use of the prototype aeration unit as a means of "upgrading" a stretch of river subject to periodic, low, dissolved oxygen levels. Expansion of the system, to include other critical stretches of the Serpentine River, is strongly recommended.

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