P934: Total nitrogen and total phosphorus by flow injection analysis: Combining student research and community service
Total phosphorus and total nitrogen are both limiting nutrients in fresh water systems. Too much of either element can encourage algae growth. Once the algae die and decompose, oxygen levels in the water system are depleted causing harm to aquatic life. Smith Mountain Lake is a man-made lake in south-western Virginia. In a collaborative effort, Ferrum College and the Smith Mountain Lake Association have been working to monitor total phosphorus concentration in the lake for over twenty-five years. Recently, a new analysis technique has been adopted. The new technique involves both an acidic and alkaline persulfate digestion, addition of a coloring agent, followed by flow injection analysis to simultaneous analyze both total phosphorus and total nitrogen. This work represents the efforts of research conducted by Ferrum College students to determine quality assurance parameters of the new analysis technique including linearity, accuracy, precision, sensitivity, range, detection limit, and robustness.