Dawn Johnson, an undergraduate Geology major and member of the University Science Scholars Program, has been awarded funding to conduct an undergraduate research project entitled, “Tracing organic carbon sources in Lake Maumelle.”
Lake Maumelle is the source of almost all of Little Rock’s drinking water. The water is treated with chlorine to kill potentially dangerous bacteria before people drink the water. Although chlorination kills dangerous bacteria, it can also produce dangerous trihalomethanes and halogenated acetic acids when it reacts with dissolved organic (carbon-containing) compounds.
Dawn’s project is designed to discover and measure the land sources that add dissolved organic compounds to the water of Lake Maumelle. These sources may change as development proceeds around the lake. Dawn’s work will help in deciding what types of land use around Lake Maumelle are compatible with using its water for Little Rock public consumption.
Dawn’s mentor is Dr. Amelia Robinson, Assistant Professor of Earth Science at UALR.