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Analysis of Water Quality | Experiment

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Published: Tue, 03 Apr 2018

  • Teri Reed

Water in Crisis

Abstract

Water filtration methods were examined by using vinegar, oil and laundry detergent. These products were used to determine how well the purification process of water works. The color, smell and consistency changed during testing which allowed the transformation to be visual. Different types of water was tested using chemical strips that evaluated the contamination between them. The data suggested that bottled water was none the less better for drinking than tap water. Fresh water is essential for all living things and contaminated water must be treated before released into the water supply (Bottcher & Rex, 2012).

Introduction

In this lab, the study of water quality was performed which is imperative to our environment as it safeguards and protects all living things. Certain criteria can support and identify problems that may cause incorrect treatment of wastewater from agricultural areas contaminated with sediment, fertilizers, and chemicals. Principles and standards are put into action to attain and protect water quality (EPA, 2012). Poor water quality can negatively affect ecological developments such as healthy rivers, plant life, wetlands, and animals. If the quality of our water systems is not maintained it will negatively impact the environment and influence commercial and recreational values (NSW, 2012). The main objective of these labs was to determine the effects of contaminated water and the impact it has on the quality of living things. By examining the effectiveness of the filtration process, it signified the importance of the quality of drinking water. In these experiments there were different types of water used, tap water and two different brands of bottled water. These lab also required the use of test strips that measured the variety of levels of chemical components within our drinking water (Bottcher & Rex, 2012).

In the first experiment, there were three hypotheses on how vinegar, oil and laundry detergent contaminated groundwater. The hypotheses for vinegar was if it was mixed with soil it would contaminate the ground water with the acidity, which can lead to dissolving lead or copper in plumbing. The hypotheses for oil was that it would contaminate the ground water and kill plants and wildlife. It is also flammable which would lead to fires. The hypotheses for laundry detergent was it would contaminate the ground water with perfume and dyes, which can get into the drinking water, and this would cause people to get very sick. In the second experiment, the hypothesis of filtration techniques would get rid of all contaminants from the water supply. In the third experiment, the hypotheses was that tap water would have the most contaminants, while both bottled water(s) would have the least amount of contaminants.

Materials and Methods

This first experiment was conducted to test the effects of groundwater contamination. This test was conducted with eight beakers filled with tap water. In beaker one it had10 ml of tap water, in beaker two 10ml of oil was added to tap water, in beaker three 10ml of vinegar was added to tap water, in beaker four 10ml of laundry detergent was added to tap water and then the smell, color and contents of the water was observed. Next a piece of cheesecloth was used to line the funnel and 60ml of soil was poured into the flue. The first beaker with tap water was poured into the soil allowing it to drain for one minute. Then beaker two vinegar water was poured over new soil, allowing it to drain for one minute. The next step was to pour the oil water from beaker three over new soil with a cheesecloth filter, allowing it to drain for one minute. Beaker four with laundry detergent was then drained in the same manner. Once all the contents were drained into the beakers, the results were examined.

The next study was the water treatment experiment, and a 250 ml beaker was filled with 100 ml of soil and 200 ml of tap water. Then the mixture was poured back and forth between the two beakers allowing the contaminated water to mix thoroughly. To determine the difference in the water contents from the beginning of the process to the end, 10 ml of the mixture was separated into 100 ml beaker and set aside. In the next step 10 grams of alum was added to the mixture in the original beaker, and then stirred for 2 minutes. Then the contents settled for 15 minutes. In order to create the filtration system a cheesecloth lining sat in the base of the funnel, and then 40ml of sand, 20ml of activated charcoal and 60ml of gravel filled the flue to the top. Next the filtration process began by running clean tap water through the content four times and allowing it to drain. Next the contaminated mixture was poured into the filter, allowing it to drain into the clean beaker. After the water made its way through the filtration process, it was ready to be treated with a few drops of bleach. When the lab was complete, the two beakers were compared to see how much the filtration process cleaned the water free from particles and smells.

In the final study drinking water quality, tap water, Dasani bottled water, and Fiji bottled water were all tested with chemical strips for contaminants. The test strips were used to check for Ammonia, Chloride, pH balance, total Alkalinity, total Chlorine, total hardness, Phosphate, and Iron. Three beakers were used and each filled with the water contents and then tested with the chemical strips. After all the strips were used and the results were recorded, the lab was complete.

Results

Experiment 1: Effects of Groundwater Contamination

Table 1: Water Observations (Smell, Color, Etc.)

Beaker

Observations

1

Cloudy and odorless

2

Yellow oil floats on top of water, odorless

3

Clear, floats on top of water, smells like vinegar

4

Green, disbursed throughout water and has a perfume odor

5

Odorless, specs of dirt floating in the water and it is slightly brown in color

6

The oil stayed in the soil, odorless, more specs of dirt floating in the water and it is slightly brown in color

7

Smells like vinegar, there are specs of dirt in the water and it is slightly brown in color

8

Smells like perfume, the water is slightly green and cloudy in color and appears to be soapy.

Figure 1.

Experiment 2: Water Treatment

Table 1: Water observation Compared to Contaminated Water

Water Sample

Test Results

Color of Treated Water

Brown in color

Smell of Treated Water

Odorless

Figure 2.

Experiment 3: Drinking Water Quality

Table 2: Ammonia Test Results

Water Sample

Test Results

Tap Water

0

Dasani® Bottled Water

0

Fiji® Bottled Water

0

Figure 3.

Table 3: Chloride Test Results

Water Sample

Test Results

Tap Water

0

Dasani® Bottled Water

0

Fiji® Bottled Water

0

Figure 4.

Table 4: 4 in 1 Test Results

Water Sample

pH

Total Alkalinity

Total Chlorine

Total Hardness

Tap Water

9

10

120

1000

Dasani® Bottled Water

2

0

80

120

Fiji® Bottled Water

9

10

80

250

Figure 5.

Table 5: Phosphate Test Results

Water Sample

Test Results

Tap Water

0

Dasani® Bottled Water

10

Fiji® Bottled Water

50

Figure 6.

Table 6: Iron Test Results

Water Sample

Test Results

Tap Water

.15

Dasani® Bottled Water

0

Fiji® Bottled Water

.15

Figure 7.

Overall experiment 1 (Fig. 1) shows the results of vinegar, oil and laundry detergent with odors, dirty water, soil particles, and green / yellow water from the contaminants. When looking at Figure 1 the results of 1-8 are listed and it shows a significant difference between each observation. The results from experiment 2 (Fig.2) shows the filtration process is almost free of particles and odors. In experiment 3, (Fig. 3-7) the Ammonia and Chloride test results were 0 mg/L for all three water types. The 4 in 1 test strips showed a wide range of numbers, this may be caused by outside contamination. Phosphate test results shows a range of 0ppm, 10ppm, and 50ppm in table 5, and in table 6 the results from the tap water and Fiji® Bottled Water was .15ppm and Dasani water was 0ppm.

Discussion

Based on the test results on the effects of contaminated ground water, the hypothesis was rejected because the oil stayed in the soil. The oil water was filtered through the soil using the funnel and cheesecloth. Once the water was filtered there was no visible oil particles. The hypothesis for vinegar was accepted based on the results from Table 1 where the vinegar seeped through the soil into the water. This test result showed that after the vinegar water was filtered through the soil using a cheesecloth, there was a certain smell of vinegar in the water. Finally, the hypothesis was accepted in experiment three, the laundry detergent seeped through the soil into the water and there was definitely a perfume odor with a soapy appearance. After the water was filtered through the soil using the funnel and cheesecloth, the water was soapy and had a noticeable smell of perfume.

In the next experiment water treatment, the hypothesis was rejected because the water appeared to be less polluted with a lesser amount of odor. The water was filtered using a five step filtration process. The filter system was made with sand charcoal, and rocks. Tap water was filtered through the filtration system to clean the charcoal. The contaminated water was filtered. Lastly, there was a comparison of the contaminated water and treated water. The filtration method trapped soil and contaminated particles which allowed the odor to significantly decrease. When the bleach was added to the filtered water, the color of the contaminated water was darker than the filtered water and the odor in the soil was more robust than the contaminated water.

In the final experiment drinking water quality, the hypothesis for tap water, Dasani water, and Fiji water was rejected. Based on the results from Tables 2-6, the three water samples were tested using chemical strips to determine if there was any Ammonia, Chloride, pH balance, total Alkalinity, total Chlorine, total hardness, Phosphate, and Iron present in the water examples. Tap water showed the least amounts of contaminates, Dasani water was mid range, and Fiji water had the highest number of existing contaminants.

During the water quality experiment, it was important to study how the distribution of tap water traveled through the pipes. Although the tap water was run through a filtration system, it could become contaminated during the traveling process. Oxidization of pipes can cause pathogens to be present in water. Using high speed jets for cleaning can remove these types of contaminants from passing through the filtered water (Doelman, 2014). There are many other questions that can be asked about filters or a water filtration systems. There is Reverse Osmosis which seems like a multifaceted system when really it is a simple water filtration process. Reverse Osmosis is when water density forces molecules through a membrane which leaves contaminates behind and purified water is collected from a clean membrane. Any contaminated water is then flushed into a drain. Reverse Osmosis will remove salts and most inanimate materials. Reverse Osmosis will typically remove microscopic parasites, with the exception of viruses. Although, reverse osmosis can be slower than a water filtration system, Reverse Osmosis will typically purify more water per day than most distillers (Kent & Farahbakhsh, 2011).

Conclusions

In summary of water quality and contamination, it is critical to make consumers aware of the quality of tap water and bottled water and its contaminants. Three experiments were performed in this lab report, and although many of the hypotheses were accepted, it does show the amount of rejected claims. Doing these experiments allows the consumer to visualize how the filtration process works, and the effects of contamination on soil and groundwater. Further research should be done to prove accuracy and theories.

References

Bottcher, A., & Rex, A. (2012). Environmental science student manual. Sheridan: eScience Labs.

Doelman, J. D. (2014). Reducing fouling & corrosion in pipelines. Pollution Engineering, 33-35.

EPA. (2012, March 6). Why are water quality standards important. U.S. Environmental

Protection Agency. Retrieved from http://water.epa.gov/scetech/swguidance/standards/imp.cfm

Kent, F. C., & Farahbakhsh, K. (2011). Addressing reverse osmosis fouling within water reclamation-A side-by-side comparison of low-pressure membrane pretreatments. 

Water Environment Research, 515-526.

NSW. (2012, September 11). Water Quality. Retrieved from NSW Government: Retrieved from http:// www.environment.nsw.gov.au/water/waterqual.htm


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