How do you collect water samples from 30 feet deep?

Many Salmon in the Classroom teachers do water testing projects at local creeks with their students through the Water Monitoring Network. After a bit of practice, students get comfortable with the procedures for testing chemical parameters such as ammonia, nitrates, phosphates, pH, temperature, and dissolved oxygen. To collect water samples for these tests, you can dip a bucket into the surface of the creek and fill it with water. But what if you want to test water at a depth of 30 feet?? How would you collect it and not mix it with water at other depths?

The engineering it took to answer this question is impressive, and combines the best features of a mousetrap and a toilet plunger.

Each year SITC is involved with a water testing project at Klineline Pond, and we take water samples from different depths using an instrument called a Van Dorn. Here's a video of SITC intern Marissa Louie operating the Van Dorn!


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