SCI 207: Dependence of Man on the Environment
Instructor Wayne D.
Importance of Water Quality
Background: This report outlines experiments conducted to assess water quality, filtration treatment, the ability of agents to contaminate groundwater sources, and its effects on the environment and society. The importance of water quality and contamination research is as important as humans and wildlife compete all over the globe for fresh water sources. (Turk, J. & Bensel, T. 2014). Water quality research focuses on experiments conducted to determine the availability of clean water sources, factors that affects the quality of water, agents of water contamination, and how the earth naturally filters impurities from water. There are two visible features of contaminated water: color and smell. Contaminated water usually has unusual smells and colors while toxic contaminants may go unseen, even after filtration processes. For instance, bottled water may hold more contaminants than tap water. Agents of water contamination this experiment explores include; oil, vinegar, laundry detergents. A'o, L. in his book, “Don’t Drink the Water” (1998) rightfully observes that, human activities such as mining and drilling contaminate groundwater citing Norwich England whereby, such activities contaminated groundwater in 1815.
Objective: Of three experiments, one conducted to determine whether oil, vinegar, and laundry detergents have an effect on groundwater contamination. The other experiments, also attempting to establish whether filtration is an effective method of water treatment, examines the difference between contaminated and “treated” water. The third experiment examines tap water, Dasani bottled water and Fiji bottled water, to determine which water source held the least contaminants.
Hypotheses: The hypotheses these experiments required I proved or disproved includes the following.
1. The ability of agents such as oil, vinegar, and laundry detergent to contaminate groundwater.
If oil were to contaminate a source of water and seep through the soil, then the soil will trap much of the oil and it will not contaminate the groundwater, as oil and water do not mix due to the viscosity of the oil.
Based on the results of the experiment, I would accept my hypothesis. The Oil did not mix with the water and the soil and cheesecloth prevent a vast majority of it from seeping into the groundwater (Whitacre, 2011).
If vinegar were to mix with a source of water and seep through the soil, then it would contaminate the groundwater because it is the same density as water.
Based on the experiment I would accept the hypothesis because the vinegar was not absorbed by the soil, nor cheesecloth, and there was not a noticeable change in the smell (except the addition of dirt and the smell of soil)
If laundry detergent mixed with a water source and seeped through the ground, then the soil hold much of it back and would prevent the detergent from contaminating the groundwater.
Based on the experiment, soil and cheesecloth were not enough to absorb the laundry detergent and it seeped into the groundwater. Therefore, I would have to reject my hypothesis.
2. Secondly, the ability of a makeshift filtration systems’ technique to remove contaminants from a water sample.
If the sand, charcoal (Gray, 2008), and gravel are layered to create a filter, and 150 ml of water and soil is poured into it, then some contaminates will be removed from the water sample, but dirt will drain into the beaker.
3. Sources (Tap, Dasani® Bottled water, and Fiji® Bottled Water).
If Dasani® is the most popular brand of bottled water, then it will contain the least amount of contaminates. If Fiji and Dasani® water, bottled and priced expensively, are good enough to market to consumers, then tap water must contain the highest level of contaminants (Grafton & Hussey, 2011).
Based on the results of