Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

Calidad de agua de la Quebrada Cuecha: efectos del efluente de la Fábrica de Quesos Monteverde



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Publication Date

June 2018


We sampled 13 sites in close proximity to the Monteverde cheese factory along Quebrada Cuecha in Monteverde, Costa Rica. To assess water quality, we tested multiple parameters including conductivity, water temperature, total dissolved solids, pH, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, phosphates, turbidity, and salinity. We also looked for the presence of fecal coliform bacteria, collected samples of benthic macroinvertebrates, calculated the percent shade cover, and analyzed the soil composition at each site. A single water quality index (WQI) was generated from selected parameters to comprehensively compare overall water quality at each site to determine whether it decreases after the aggregation of pipes from the Cheese Factory. We found that at each site the WQI values indicated “good” water quality. Affirming this, Corydalidae and Ephemeroptera, two families of benthic macroinvertebrates that indicate “good” water quality, were found both upstream and downstream from the Cheese Factory. Our data showed that water quality fluctuates moving from upstream to downstream, and there was no distinct decrease in water quality along Quebrada Cuecha. Keeping this in mind, the decrease in dissolved oxygen, sudden increase in turbidity, and presence of fecal coliform bacteria along the stream indicate that there may be potential sources of pollution entering the system from the Cheese Factory and higher upstream. Muestreamos 13 sitios muy cerca de la Fábrica de Quesos Monteverde a lo largo de Quebrada Cuecha en Monteverde, Costa Rica. Para evaluar la calidad del agua, medimos múltiples parámetros como conductividad, temperatura del agua, sólidos totales disueltos, pH, oxígeno disuelto, nitratos, fosfatos, turbidez y salinidad. También buscamos la presencia de bacterias coliformes fecales, muestreamos macroinvertebrados bentónicos, calculamos el porcentaje de cobertura de sombra y analizamos la composición del suelo en cada sitio. Generamos un índice de calidad del agua (WQI) a partir de los parámetros seleccionados para comparar la calidad general del agua en cada sitio y determinar si disminuye después de las tuberías de la fábrica de queso. Encontramos que en cada sitio los valores de WQI indicaban una calidad del agua “buena”. Corydalidae y Ephemeroptera, dos familias de macroinvertebrados bentónicos que indican “buena” calidad del agua, se encontraron tanto aguas arriba como aguas debajo de la Fábrica de Queso. Nuestros datos mostraron que la calidad del agua fluctúa de río arriba a río abajo, y no se presentó una clara disminución en la calidad del agua a lo largo de Quebrada Cuecha. Sin embargo, la disminución del oxígeno disuelto, el aumento repentino de la turbidez y la presencia de bacterias coliformes fecales a lo largo de la corriente indican que puede haber contaminantes potenciales que ingresan al sistema desde la Fábrica de Queso y desde la parte superior de la quebrada.


Water quality, Calidad de agua, Water—Pollution, Agua—Contaminación, EAP Spring 2018, EAP Primavera 2018, Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone—Monteverde, Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde--Monteverde


Student affiliation: Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability University of California, Los Angeles Born Digital

Subject: topical

Water quality; Calidad de agua; Water—Pollution; Agua—Contaminación; EAP Spring 2018; EAP Primavera 2018; Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone—Monteverde; Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde--Monteverde



Holding Location

Monteverde Institute MVI

Water quality of Quebrada Cuecha: effects of the effluent from the Monteverde cheese factory



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