Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Geography-Geology: Hydrogeology

First Advisor

Eric Peterson


The pollution of heavy metals within surface water is a rising global concern. As heavy metals are transported through rivers, they can bioaccumulate through the food web, leading to harmful concentrations within waterways. In urban areas such as the city of Chicago, Illinois, the use of road salts is a concern as elevated concentrations of chloride (Cl–) can reduce surface water quality. Since surface waters can carry heavy metals and Cl– salts over a large distance, methods of in-situ phytoremediation are of growing importance. Through a pilot project, a floating garden system has been installed along a portion of the Chicago River. This work aims to answer the following question: Do floating gardens alter the heavy metal concentrations of surface water? To address this question, two hypotheses were proposed: 1) Heavy metal (Al, As, Be, Cd, Cu, Cr, Mn, Zn) concentrations of surface waters upstream from the floating gardens will be higher than the concentrations downstream. 2) The floating gardens will alter metal concentrations more during the growing season (summer) than the dormant season (winter). To test these hypotheses, surface water samples were collected and analyzed for heavy metals and Cl- upstream and downstream of the floating gardens during both the growing and dormant seasons. The results of this study show a lack of heavy metal presence in the waters. Due to this, the effectiveness of the floating gardens in removing heavy metal concentrations was unable to be determined. This study is useful in understanding heavy metal concentrations in the Chicago River and can serve to support studies on changing concentrations in the river.


Imported from Spooner_ilstu_0092N_11672.pdf


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