Water Quality and Contamination Magalie Odera

SCI 207 Dependence of Man on the Environment
Valencia Coty
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Abstract
The study determined the effects of groundwater contamination, water treatments and water quality testing. Contaminants such as laundry detergent, oil and vinegar were mixed with water and its effect on the water`s color, smell and taste was observed. Water treatment like simple filtration is also experienced. The effects of the filtration treatment to the contaminated water is determined. Lastly, water quality testing is also done to tap water, Dasani(R) Bottled Water and Fiji(R) Bottled Water. The samples were subject to water quality testing using ammonia test strip, chloride test strip, 4-in-1 test strip, phosphate test strip and iron test strip.
Results have shown that laundry detergent, oil and vinegar alters the water`s color, smell and taste. Regarding water treatment, after filtration, the contaminated water is clearer and odor free. On the water quality experiment, it was found that tap water is the most contaminant sample, and Dasani water has the highest quality.
1. Introduction
Water is the most vital component of life. All plants and animals must need water to survive. No life on earth would have survived if there is no water. People do not just need water, we need clean water or we call it in more formal term as potable water. Potable water is a safe kind of water to drink. It must not contain any impurities like germs and harmful chemicals. Throughout history there have been many occasions when hundreds of thousands of people have died because polluted water supply. Polluted water is significant contributors to the 1.8 million deaths caused by diarrhea every year. Water transmits disease when it is contaminated by pathogenic microbes and/or chemicals. Germs and chemical contamination may come from many sources just like from seepage of contaminated water into `leaky` pipes in a distribution system, and from unhygienic handling of stored household water (WHO 1). Because of its great importance, the world health organization (WHO, 2014) convenes an international conference just to formulate the strategy on assuring water quality and health (Aral, 2009).
This experiment was done to simulate the possible contamination and treatment of the water we drink. The processes involved in the experiment are contamination, filtration, and assessment of water quality. The objective of this experiment is to identify key factors in the contamination of water, find the best possible filtration method following the simulated contamination, and to assess if the filtration is enough to secure clean and safe potable water as its byproduct. The various contamination samples are designed to simulate numerous types of contaminated water to be filtered. This will serve as tangible evidence as to what real contaminated water would be like in many water purification and filtration systems in the world. The filtration will be done through a four-level system with an addition of sediment/dirt coagulant substance(s) for better results. The results will then show which samples and filtration processes are yielding positive results guaranteeing clean potable water.
This experiment will test the ability of soil to remove oil, vinegar, and laundry detergent from the environment before it reaches groundwater. This will also show that effectiveness of one filtering method on its ability to purify contaminated water. Lastly, this experiment will test the quality of two separate bottled waters and your tap water by measuring a variety of chemical components within the water to prove various reports that have shown that many bottled water products contain the same chemical contaminants as our tap water.
2. Materials and Methods
2.1 Test for effect of underground water contamination
To test for the effect of different types of underground water contaminants, four beakers were filled with 100ml water and labeled beakers 1-4. Beaker 1 served as a control while vegetable oil, vinegar beakers and liquid laundry detergent were added to beakers 2 to 4 respectively. The mixtures were mixed well with a wooden stick and appearance, color and smell were observed. The mixtures including the control beaker 1, were then passed through a cheesecloth-lined funnel with soil and transferred to new beakers labelled beakers 5 to 8.
2.2 Test for water treatments
Filtration of water was demonstrated by adding 100ml of soil with water to add up volume of 200ml. The mixture was thoroughly mixed by pouring the mixture back and forth between the two 250 mL beakers for 15 times. This served as a representation of “contaminated water”. The 10 ml of the mixture was then poured to 100ml beaker as a comparison to the treated water experiment or as a control. Alum (10 g) was added to the rest of the mixture and was slowly stirred using a wooden stick for 1-2 minutes. The new mixture was set aside to let sit for 15 minutes.
A filter was created by placing 4 layers of cheesecloth in a funnel then it with was layered with 4ml sand, 20ml activated charcoal, and 40 ml gravel respectively. Clean tap water was passed through the layer to solidify the filter.
Without mixing the sediments of the alum-treated “contaminated” water, 3/4 of the “contaminated” water was poured into the funnel. It was let to filter through the funnel into the beaker for 5 minutes.
The smell of the filtered water was observe and compared with that of the 10 ml control “contaminated” water set aside earlier. A few drops of bleach solution was then added and stirred well to the filtered water to represent “treated” water. The treated water was then again compared to the 10 ml “contaminated” water.
2.3 Water quality testing
2.3.1 Ammonia Test Strip
Using an ammonia test strip, the tap water sample was tested by placing the strip in the water sample and vigorously moving the strip up and down the water for 30 seconds, waking sure the pads on the strip are always submerged. The strip was removed from the water and excess water was removed bay shaking off the strip. The test strip was held level with the pad side up for 30 seconds. The result was read by turning the test strip away from the observer and compared with the color chart provided. Same procedure was made in testing the ammonia in Dasani(R) and Fiji|(R) bottled water.
2.3.2 Chloride Test Strip
The chloride content of the water samples was done using a chlorine test strip. All the reaction zones of the test strip as immersed in tap water for 1 second. The excess water from the test strip was shaken off and let stand for 1minute. The color of the strip was compared to the color chart provided. Same procedure was made in testing the chloride in Dasani(R) and Fiji|(R) bottled water.
2.3.3. 4 in 1 Test Strip
Using the provided 4 in 1 strip, the tap water was tested by dipping the strip in the tap water for 5 seconds with a gentle back and forth motion. The test strip was removed from the water and the excess water was shaken off the strip. After 20 seconds, the strip was compared to the pH, Total Alkalinity, Total Chlorine and Total Hardness color chart provided making sure that reading were done within seconds of each other. Same procedure was made in testing Dasani(R) and Fiji|(R) bottled water.
2.3.4 Phosphate test strip
Using a phosphate test strip, the trip was dipped in tap water sample for 5 seconds. The test strip was removed from the water and held in horizontal position with the pad side up for 45 seconds without shaking the excess water off the strip. The resulting color of the strip was compared with the color chart provided. Same procedure was made in testing the phosphate in Dasani(R) and Fiji|(R) bottled water.
2.3.5 Iron Test Strip
Using only 30 ml. of water sample, the tap water in a beaker was added with one foil packet of the powder provided with the Iron Test Kit. The beaker was then covered with Parafilm(R) and shaken vigorously for 15 seconds. The Parafilm(R) cover was the removed and the iron test strip was dipped into the water rapidly moving it back and forth under the water for 5 seconds. The excess water from the test strip was shaken off and let stand for 10 seconds. The color of the strip was compared to the color chart provided. If the resulting color falls in between two colors in the color chart, the results were just estimated. Same procedure was made in testing the chloride in Dasani(R) and Fiji|(R) bottled water.
3. Results
The observation on the result of different kinds of contamination of ground water was summarized in Table 1.
Table 1: Water Observations (Smell, Color, Etc.)
Beaker
Observations
1
(water)
Water is clear and odorless
2
(water with cooking oil)
Oil is separated from water and rest on the surface and odorless
3
(water with vinegar)
Water became clear prior been mixed with vinegar with a slight odor.
4
(water with liquid detergent)
Water is clear with no changes in color or odor. Tiny little bubbles are formed in a circle on the surface.
5
(water passed through soil )
Water is brown and odorless. Water quantity is reduced from 100 ml to 70 ml.
6
(water with cooking oil passed through soil )
Water is brown in color and there is some presence of oil and sediment.
7
(water with vinegar passed through soil )
Water is brownish and somewhat smelly.
8
(water with liquid detergent passed through soil )
Water is light brown and shows presence of sediment.
Each contaminant change the nature of the water from its original state. Oil made it become contaminated by changing its surface, water and oil mixture having two visible layers. Detergent made the water look thicker for the detergent was dissolved in water. And vinegar mixed with water changed the water`s color, taste and color. Soil seems to have a more powerful effect because it completely change the appearance of the water by having soil particle get into the water.
The “contaminated” water from the filtration experiment became clear, odorless and free from any observable impurities. Comparing it to the control “contaminated” water, the filtration was able to separate the impurities from the water.
In testing the quality of tap water and 2 bottled waters (Dasani(R) and Fiji(R)), the results were summarized in Tables 2 to 6. All the water samples were negative for the presence of ammonia. But the tap water has significant levels of Chloride (500) and Iron (0.15). Based on the pH level, tap water is near neutral (pH 6) while Dasani(R) Bottled Water is acidic (pH 2) and Fiji(R) Bottled Water is alkaline (pH 8). Tap water has the highest total alkalinity, while Fiji(R) Bottled Water has the highest total chlorine and total hardness.
Table 2: Ammonia Test Results
Water Sample
Test Results
Tap Water
0
Dasani(R) Bottled Water
0
Fiji(R) Bottled Water
0
Table 3: Chloride Test Results
Water Sample
Test Results
Tap Water
500
Dasani(R) Bottled Water
0
Fiji(R) Bottled Water
0
Table 4: 4 in 1 Test Results
Water Sample
pH
Total Alkalinity
Total Chlorine
Total Hardness
Tap Water
6
120
1.0
0
Dasani(R) Bottled Water
2
0
1.0
0
Fiji(R) Bottled Water
8
0
4.0
50
Table 5: Phosphate Test Results
Water Sample
Test Results
Tap Water
50
Dasani(R) Bottled Water
100
Fiji(R) Bottled Water
Table 6: Iron Test Results
Water Sample
Test Results
Tap Water
0.15
Dasani(R) Bottled Water
0
Fiji(R) Bottled Water
0
4. Discussion
The cleanliness of underground water is very vital because it is the source of our everyday water need. Contamination of ground water possess problem to us. Our everyday items as laundry detergent, oil, and vinegar alter the color, smell, and taste of water. Even if it passes through the soil, oil, vinegar, and laundry detergent are still traceable and can reach the ground water as seen in the experiment shown in Table 1. Even we use many things that can contaminate water we can still fix the problem by proper water treatment. As demonstrated in the filtration experiment, using the several layers of filter and chlorine, contaminated water can still become potable water. To further test for the safety of water being consumed by human, several test kits are now available. The two test bottled water differ in properties and one was found to be acidic and has more hardness than the tap water.
Ground water can be naturally contaminated however it poses no health risk (Groundwater Wisconsin`s Burie3d Treasure). On the other hand, contaminations that are human made can cause health risks. Improper disposal of substances such as vinegar, acid, oil and detergent can have a negative effect on a town water sources by causing the damages to agricultural system such as crops and plants, and it can also cause severe damage to people`s health by causing diseases such as Salmonella and Hepatitis A.
According to the World Health organization, protecting source water from pollution is critical. Ground water contamination is mostly due of human activities. The extent of the human activities that influence the environment has increased dramatically during the past few decades terrestrial ecosystems, freshwater and marine environments and the atmosphere are all affected. When ground water becomes contaminated, it is difficult and expensive to clean up (US EPA). As seen in the result of the experiment, contaminants can reach our ground water. Cleaning up of contaminated groundwater can become complicated because contaminants are invisible to the naked eye. Water treatment uses filtration to remove particles in the water. The filtration clarifies water and enhances the effectiveness of disinfection (US EPA Safe water). Commercially available water is not all the same and safe thus, water monitoring is essential to be continuous and using specific measurement of water properties (Chapman, 1996)
The prevention of contaminants by human activities should be addressed so we will not need the expensive treatment of our underground water. The water treatment facilities with the help of good monitoring of water can help us get potable water that is still safe to consume.
5. Conclusion
The experiment demonstrated our role in the contamination of our water but it also showed our ability to cure our doings by treatments of our water supply. The continuous monitoring of the water supply will help us get the quality of water that we need to live free from sickness from unfit water for us.
6. References
Aral, M. (2009). Water Quality, Exposure and Health, Water Quality Polution and Health 5(16): 1876 – 1666.
Chapman, D. (1996). Water Quality Assessments: A Guide to the Use of Biota, Sediments and Water in Environmental Monitoring, (2nd edition). London: Chapman & Hall.
Groundwater Wisconsin`s Buried Treasure. (n.d.). Groundwater Study Guide. Retrieved from:
.
United States Environmental Protection Agency (2014). Ground water contamination. Retrieved from: .
World Health Organization (2014). WHO Water, Sanitation and hygiene. Retrieved from: .