UQ engineering students help improve water quality
The UQ School of Civil Engineering students are getting real-world experience, working to improve the water quality of UQ’s lakes.
Students are working with Property and Facilities Sustainability Officers and the Centre for Marine Science to test the lake and determine ways to address quality issues.
Sustainability Officer Christine McCallum said UQ was working proactively to minimise impacts on the lake from nearby construction projects and extreme weather.
“During intense rainfall the small lake has receives stormwater runoff from the adjacent construction site,” she said.
“The construction site currently straddles the lowest point in the local terrain and the stormwater drain for this area. Stormwater from this drain is conveyed to the lake by an underground storm water pipe, altering water conditions.”
P&F are working with the contractor to improve the situation, and students began monitoring water quality in January.
Civil Engineering students Charlotte Caulfield and Kristy Butler are taking part in the project, monitoring water quality in the lake twice daily.
Their research uses measurements of Chlorophyll A concentrations in the lake to assess the risk of harmful algal blooms forming in the lake.
“The end goal of this project is to provide UQ P&F with a detailed data set of the conditions within the lakes, to allow them to better maintain the water quality during the construction project,” she said.
“Working on this project as part of the UQ Summer Research Program has been a rewarding experience for Kristy and I.
“We are both very happy to contribute to the improvement of the UQ Lakes while gaining invaluable knowledge of research techniques within Environmental Engineering.”
The project will continue until water quality improves.