Public Lab Research note


Community Science: Drinking Water Quality

by enviromicro new contributor | November 15, 2019 19:05 15 Nov 19:05 | #21497 | #21497

A community science water quality educational session that took place in conjunction with the YLI program at the Desert Mirage high school on 11.05/19 in Mecca, CA. All methods were participatory and data was available to students immediately.

Is your drinking water contaminated? How can I find out? How do we test it with low cost materials? What are normal values? Where can I find out more about my drinking water quality?

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Drinking water on the DM high school campus were tested. Drinking fountains on campus had enough chlorine and no bacteria. Some students' water bottles had bacteria and no chlorine. No students had arsenic in their drinking water.

Testing for Bacteria

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Testing for Bacteria with Luminometer
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Testing for Chlorine
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Testing for pH
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Testing for Arsenic
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Home Water vs. Drinking Fountains

Results: Most students had no chlorine in their water, but had some environmental bacteria in their bottle. School drinking fountains and some taps at the school had chlorine and no bacteria. There was no arsenic in any water sample.

“Don’t Panic” This is NORMAL

Interpretation: It is typical to find environmental bacteria in drinking water bottles that haven’t been cleaned for a while. Tap water has chlorine, so that will prevent some bacteria.

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Recommendations:

Keep drinking water!

Wash your bottles at home.

Drinking fountains are good fill points.

Testing Options: You can always test your water with an inexpensive pool chlorine kit. If you find chlorine there, you probably don’t have bacteria. 

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