The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District provided logistical support for a Penn State University’s sediment quality survey at Conemaugh Lake, Dec. 19.
Dr. William Burgos, professor, and his assistant, Jeremy Harper, conducted a core sediment quality survey. The sediment horizons in each core sample will be analyzed for heavy metals, nutrients, salts, radioisotopes, and organic compounds and will provide $20,000 to $30,000 worth of analyses.
Five site locations were selected in the lake. Volunteer teams collected two-foot-long sediment core samples from sediment depths ranging between zero and 15 feet, beneath three-to-four feet of water using a specialized hand-pushed auger. As suspected, sediments were very soft so they were easily collected.
The survey data will increase the understanding of the impacts of lake sediment quality on water quality and aquatic life.
The volunteer efforts will provide valuable historic data that the district hasn't been able to collect, due to manpower and funding constraints. The Corps will receive the results of sample analyses for free.
The work also provides Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic or STEM opportunities for students attending Penn State University.
More volunteer work is planned in early January, weather permitting.