• Discuss possible ways to mitigate or prevent the pollution sources found at each site, or restoration activities the community
could undertake to improve water quality at all four locations.
What factors could influence water quality that were not
included as a variable in this activity?
• Ask the students to research water quality issues in their state
and propose ways they would test for public safety issues with
regard to water pollution in the affected waterbodies.
We would like to thank Cathleen Reas and Charly McConnell from
the Clemson University Extension office and Pickens County Storm-
water Partners for their funding support and valuable input; Janine
Sutter and Pickens County 4-H for their financial support; members
of the Clemson University Biological Sciences Graduate Student Asso-
ciation and Environmental Toxicology Graduate Student Association
for their assistance in administering the initial runs of the scenario
game; Charles Conard and the AP Environmental Science students
at D. W. Daniel High School for testing the game; the reviewers of this
manuscript and Dr. David Tonkyn for their edits.
Bair, E. S. (2000). Developing analytical and communication skills in a
mock-trial course based on the famous Woburn, Massachusetts case.
Journal of Geoscience Education, 48, 450–454.
Bell, R. L., & Lederman, N. G. (2003). Understandings of the nature of
science and decision making on science and technology-based issues.
Science Education, 87, 352–377.
Table 2 Continued
Site A: Below highway, within city
water run-off or by settling into the water system after attaching to dust particles in the air. EPT or
macroinvertebrate population may be low due to a number of factors, such as a non-ideal
environment due to low dissolved oxygen or due to toxic effects from present pollutants.
Expansion Points: The persistence of lead (or other legacy contaminants) in the environment from the industrial
revolution. Benzene is a government-recognized carcinogen. How would this effect public
perception of an incoming recreation area to a site?
Site B: Below city and wetland
Issues: Elevated benzene.
Discussion Points: Incoming water from healthy tributaries can improve water quality by increasing dissolved oxygen
Site C: On tributary; below agricultural land
levels, creating more flow and less sedimentation, and diluting concentrations of pollutants.
Wetlands are also natural sequesters of organic material and pollutants; hence the drop in water
levels of priority pollutants and VOCs. Benzene, a VOC found in gasoline and exhaust fumes, is still
elevated even when a long distance downstream and below the wetlands; boat docks or boating
areas upstream could contribute to the elevated levels.
Issues: High total nitrates; high E. coli count; high DDD and dieldrin concentrations (insecticides); high
atrazine (herbicide); high dichloroethylene and trichloroethylene (VOCs); fair EPT.
Discussion Points: Run-off from farms with fertilizer are high contributors to nitrates and E. coli counts. Use of herbicides
and insecticides will also result in these compounds getting into the ground water or washing into
local water systems. A number of herbicides and insecticides are organochlorines (like the elevated
VOCs) and if applied via aerosol could contribute further to the VOC concentration.
Expansion Points: Nitrates are the limiting component of most ecosystems, and excess amounts can lead to
eutrophication and subsequent drop in dissolved oxygen—both issues for macroinvertebrates—and
may be something the firm would want to monitor further. What other stressors could exacerbate
potential eutrophication issues? (increased temperature with seasons; high BOD).
Site D: On tributary; below factory effluent
Issues: Slightly elevated water temperatures.
Discussion Points: Some students’ preconceived notion of a factory effluent may cause them to eliminate this site
before fully considering it. If so, it is important to remind them that the factory only uses the water as
a coolant, and the only effluent is heated river water.
Expansion Points: How are other water quality parameters affected by temperature? What kind of public perception
could there be about a recreation site near a factory? How would you tackle this?