This investigation was undertaken to understand recent nutrient levels of Westhampton Lake and determine the implications of its water quality relative to the sustenance of aquatic life on campus at the University of Richmond. Nutrient data was obtained from the documentation of ongoing monthly sampling by a research team from Virginia Commonwealth University and consisted in the evaluation of total nitrogen, total phosphorus, ammonia, nitrogen oxides, chlorides, and the bacteria, Escherichia coli between November 20, 2018, and December 9, 2021. Analysis of each individual nutrient included the comparison of its minimum, maximum, and mean level relative to recommended criteria provided by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and local experts, with healthy levels being defined as those that support aquatic life. In addition, nutrients were analyzed spatially and temporally, applying recommended criteria to the sample site and sample date of a nutrient. Apart from total nitrogen, all average nutrient levels surpassed criteria; however, chlorides were unable to be evaluated due to nonexistent criteria. Findings indicated the need for the adoption of standardized criteria for all nutrients sampled, modification of sites being used for sampling to discern on-campus from off-campus sources, and consideration of additional features that could be added to the lake to combat excess nutrients.

Paper prepared for the Environmental Studies Senior Seminar/Geography Capstone.

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Peter Smallwood

Document Type


Publication Date


Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2022, University of Richmond.