This topic submitted by Jennifer Taylor, Brett Ruttenberg, Martine Nicolay, Lauren Collins, Rachel Wray (taylorja@miamioh.edu) at 9:55 am on 10/19/00. Additions were last made on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Section: Cummins

LAB PACKET: Donít Drink the Water!!!
Natural Systems
Brett Ruttenberg, Rachel Wray, Lauren Collins, Jennifer Taylor, Martine Nicolay

Abstract: We will be testing various chemicals that live within Western Pond. By measuring their levels, we will determine whether or not it is safe to drink the water of the pond, based upon the EPAís (Environmental Protection Agency) standards of drinking water.


Purpose/Problem: The purpose of this experiment is to, through testing and observation, discover if the water in the Western Pond is safe enough to drink.

Hypothesis: Our hypothesis is that the water in the Western Pond is not safe enough to drink.
What we plan to accomplish: Through this experiment, we hope to gain a better understanding of what constitutes healthy drinking water, as well as learning about the pond and its eco-system. We plan to surprise ourselves into finding out how safe or unsafe the water is. Who knows, maybe the pond water is the Evian of the future!
Relevance, if any. Why is this research interesting? This research is interesting because it involves a human factor. We all drink water every day, so it is interesting to know what we can drink, and what we can not. By performing this experiment, we will learn about the influences of chemicals and bacteria in water upon the body.


What others have done:
The Effects of Rainfall on the Pollution and Mineral Content of the Western Duck Pond
A Study of Life on Western Pond
Evaporation at Western Pond
Sediment in the Western Duck Pond

Water Fit to Drink by Carol Keough
-"Our water is fast becoming a national scandal." (p.6)
-"Every city of any size has tested its drinking water and many found it wanting in purity." (p.1)
-"In recent years, most Americans have assumed that if the water in other cities and towns was less pure, chlorine had taken care of the problem before it reached the kitchen tap. Yet, water is not clean and not necessarily safe to drink. While there is relatively little danger of contracting typhoid or cholera, there is a real danger of swallowing mercury, lead, arsenic, vinyl chloride, chloroform, carbon tetra chloride, pesticides, and more- depending on where you live and where your water comes from." (p.2)
-"Some of these pollutants are known to cause cancer in laboratory animals." (p.2)
-"Although chlorine works as a disinfectant, its side-effects are arousing considering alarm. This additive is now known to interact with other elements in water to form carcinogenic compounds." (p.6)
-"If we donít want nicotine in our systems, we can refrain from smoking. If we want to avoid nitrates, we can do without bacon or ham. But we cannot do without water." (p.3)

But Not a Drop to Drink! The Lifesaving Guide to Good Water by Steve Coffel
-Bad water: water that has adverse effects on our health; concentration, toxicity and contaminants in water are influential
-The major causes of bad water: (pp.44, 53)
Acid rain
Pollution from mining industry and mining

-There is indisputable evidence that hard water has caused significant health problems for some of those consuming it. (p. 57)
-Sources of potential pollution, obviously most numerous in highly developed areas. Larger concentrations of people, cars, businesses and industries simply generate a larger volume and variety of possible pollutants. But there is bad water everywhereÖ

Is Our Water Safe to Drink? By J. Gordon Mllichap
-The EPA sets drinking water standards for all public water systems.
Primary effects: enforceable
Secondary standards: federal guidelines regarding the color, taste, and other aesthetic qualities of water and are not enforceable

Biohazards of Drinking Water Treatment Richard A. Larson, Editor
-"The presence of nitrate in groundwater has received renewed attention because the level of nitrate dramatically is increasing. Subsequently the nitrate level in drinking water is increasing, too." (p. 11)
-"Identifying the human health consequences and risks is even more problematic because casual statements are difficult to achieve in human health research." (p. 21)

25 Years of the Safe Drinking Water Act: History and Trends
-"The US has one of the safest public drinking water supplies in the world, and the quality of our drinking water has improves over the last 25 years." (p. 1)

Relatedness to the ërealí world: By doing this experiment, we will develop the ability to test the safety of drinking water. Not only is this useful in determining Western Pond drinking safety, but in a personal situation (i.e. camping). Having the necessary measuring devices, water can be tested for drinking quality. Also, in terms of real estate, a buyer would most often want to purchase land that has higher quality water.


What is your experimental design? Is it statistically sound? We plan to read and understand the EPA standards for safe drinking water, looking at the most significant chemicals and bacteria. We also spoke to Joseph Shacat who told gave suggestions for things to test and will be helping us do these tests. Taking the most influential chemicals, metals, and other elements, we will test the levels of them at the Western Pond in three separate locations within the pond. The chemicals we will be testing for are: chlorine, calcium, mercury, and sulfate. The metals we will be testing for are: copper, lead, iron, manganese, and nickel. Other important things we will be testing for are: pH, alkalinity, salinity, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, and phosphates. The control group for our testing will be the EPA standards.

This is what our data table for each sample looks like

There is not much room for being biased with this research project. The water either is or is not safe to drinkÖand we donít care either way. To ensure that there is no human error we will be wearing gloves and using sterile tools. We will follow the directions for testing so that we do not contaminate the samples.
Describe important materials and how they will be used: From the natural science department, we plan to make use of any possible testing kit(s) for the previously mentioned names of chemicals, etc. To test dissolved oxygen we will use the dissolved oxygen meterÖif it can be fixed. If we can not get it to work, there is a kit that can also test dissolved oxygen levels. To test pH levels we will use the pH meter. To do this you must first calibrate the machine and then put the meter in the solution to be tested (in this case water). We will use the Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (Aalbert!) to test all out metal samplesÖJoseph is doing this with us. To test the nitrates we will be using Environmental Monitoring Systems and we will learn how to use this equipment by working with it with Joseph. For the rest of the tests we will be using the HACH test kits and their directions.
How will we involve the class in our study? We can indeed involve the class. We can take a survey on how safe they believe the Western Pond water is to drink. We will bring in some of the chemicals and such for the class to test for themselves. The chemicals we will use will be the ones we can test with the HACH test kits. We will not have the class test the metals because it takes hours for the machine to test the levels of metal content. We can ensure that the data collected by the students can be trusted because we will be there with them testing. If anything seems off we wonít use in it our experiment. After that, a presentation of our results will be given. If people are willing to taste the pond water . . . all the better and more interesting.

General Time-Line:
Week of October 22 2000: take water samples
Week of October 29 2000: test water samples
Week of November 5 2000: test water samples; compare and analyze data
Week of November 12: teach class

RESULTS (to be included in final reportÖ)

DISCUSSION & CONCLUSIONS (for final report!)

Coffel, Steve. But Not a Drop to Drink. Rawson Associates: New York, 1989.

Keough, Carol. Water Fit to Drink. Rodale Press, Inc.: Emmaus, Pennsylvania,1980.

Larson, Richard A., ed. Biohazards of Drinking Water Treatment. Lewis Publishers, Inc.: Chelsea, Michigan, 1989.

Millichap, J. Gordon. Is Our Water Safe to Drink? PNB Publishers: Chicago, 1995.

United States. Environmental Protection Agency. 25 Years of the Safe Drinking Water Act: History and Trends. Washington: np., 1999.

For Further Info on this Topic, Check out this WWW Site: http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/ottaway/ioc_tab.htm . . Next Article
Previous Article
Return to the Topic Menu

Here is a list of responses that have been posted to this Study...

IMPORTANT: Press the Browser Reload button to view the latest contribution.

Respond to this Submission!

IMPORTANT: For each Response, make sure the title of the response is different than previous titles shown above!

Response Title:

Professor's Name (Choose either Cummins, Myers, Campbell, or Smith):
Optional: For Further Info on this Topic, Check out this WWW Site:
Response Text:

Article complete. Click HERE to return to the Natural Systems Menu.

Visit the rest of the site!

 Weather & Earth Science Resources

|Weather & Environmental Sites | Radar & Severe Weather |Earth Science Resources | Astronomy| Global Change |

Tropical Ecosystem Courses

Images: Tropical Marine Ecology of the Florida Keys, Everglades, and San Salvador, Bahamas

Images: Tropical Ecosystems of Costa Rica

2000 Syllabus:Tropical Ecosystems of Costa Rica

2000 Syllabus :Tropical Marine Ecology of the Florida Keys, Everglades, & San Salvador, Bahamas

 Tools & Other Stuff

Necessities: Macintosh Resources | Search Engines | Library Resources | Server Stats |