The Seattle Aquarium is centrally located on Elliott Bay in Puget Sound, built on a pier along the central waterfront in Seattle, WA, USA. The Seattle Aquarium Water Quality Laboratory regularly measures water quality metrics on incoming saltwater pumped directly from Elliott Bay for use in the animal exhibits. This study provides a descriptive temporal analysis of variability in the incoming saltwater conducted from 2007 through 2016. Parameters measured on a weekly basis include ammonia (NH3), nitrite (NO2), pH and fecal coliform bacteria. Ammonia mean throughout the dataset was 0.02 mg/l (SE ± 0.0005), with clear seasonal trends of higher ammonia levels during the summer months (May, June and July) annually. Nitrite mean was 0.01 mg/l (SE ± 0.002), with clear seasonal trends of this nutrient with bi-annual peaks in spring and fall (May and September). Saltwater pH mean was 7.81 (SE ± 0.004), trending lower in winter and spring and higher in summer and fall. Fecal coliform bacteria mean over the 10-year period was 20 colony-forming units (CFU) per 100 ml of water. Overall, Elliott Bay water quality remained relatively stable from 2007 to 2016, and if remains unchanged, will continue to be a reliable source of saltwater with known water quality parameters for use in animal exhibits in the Seattle Aquarium.
Part of the book: Water Challenges of an Urbanizing World