From the Classroom

Water Quality Testing at Petaluma High School

Recently, the physical science classes of Boyes, Smith, Yaeger and Yannes, participated in water quality testing throughout the streams and creeks of the Petaluma Watershed. In an effort to save time, water samples from Corona Creek, Washington Creek, Thompson Creek, Lynch Creek, Adobe Creek, and the Upper and Lower Petaluma River, were brought to the classroom in 1 gallon buckets for students to test. Their results can be viewed on the Watershed Atlas at,

Instructor Lee Boyes wanted to make sure her students were able to test the water before the predicted heavy rains. In doing so, she has the ability to compare the pre-rainfall to post-rainfall water quality. She expects to see heavier levels of phosphorous and nitrogen after heavy rainfall due to lawn fertilizer runoff.

Once the water was collected from the seven sites it was brought back to PHS. Students were divided into groups and assigned a test to perform. Within their groups, students explored possible reasoning for their results; which included the lack of rainfall, proximity to agriculture and industrial runoff sites, and residential runoff. Once the data was collected, it was imported into the Watershed Atlas database’s Water Quality Monitoring Layer. Due to the location of some of the sites and the inability for classes to get there within the allotted class time, the data collected for many of the sites was the first entries.


By Dylann Moore