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Water sample bottle tree

Water sample bottle tree

Greg Summerell beside the bottle tree
Greg Summerell in Livingstone Creek beside the water sample bottle tree. Photo courtesy: Greg Summerell.

Greg Summerell is a scientist researching the ways salt moves into streams from the land. His main field site is at Livingstone Creek, southeast of Wagga Wagga.

Greg developed and used this water sample bottle tree to help 'fingerprint' the unique chemical compositions of different salts in different parts of the stream.

When rain falls heavily and suddenly, Livingstone Creek rises swiftly. As the creek's water level rose, the sample bottles arranged vertically on the sample bottle tree captured samples of water.

Bottle tree
The bottle tree quickly captures water samples from different depths of the creek. Photo courtesy: Greg Summerell.

Once a bottle filled, a valve secured the sample. Later, by 'fingerprinting' the salts dissolved in the samples of water Greg identified the places from which rainfall flushed the salts into the stream.

An earlier version of the bottle tree was developed about 20 years ago by Department of Land and Water Conservation officers at Leeton.

Greg and his team adapted the bottle tree to better suit their needs. They developed a more reliable system of valves to ensure sampled water did not get contaminated as the stream water level fluctuated and salt compositions changed.

The water sample bottle tree developed by Greg proved to be an affordable, strong, and reliable sampling device.