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Water Quality and Contamination Essay

My lab report was based on how ground water could be affected by contaminants that surround us everyday. “ Access to safe drinking water depends not only on the quality of water at source but also on contamination throughout it’s way to the user and practices related to purification and sanitation” ( Mishra, S., & Nandeshwar, S. 2013).I was very surprised that the detergent contaminated the water. I thought that the detergent would stay in the soil but it ended up going through the soil into the water. Which then left the water bubbly and dark. These labs may show that we may need to look into more efficient way to filter our water.

Body Paragraph # 1 – Background:

One of our main resources on earth is water and everything on this earth needs water to survive. Water is found below the surface which means that the water can be easily contaminated. Many items such as laundry detergent, soap, fertilizers and pesticides are poured on the ground daily that are absorbed into the soil which contaminates our fresh clean water. As these contaminants reach the underground there solubility and degradation can vary. “Research efforts are needed dealing with the remediation of leaching waters polluted to prevent further damage of surface and ground water reserves are needed”(Muñoz-Olivas, R., Bouaid, A., Liva, M., Fernández-Hernando, P., Tadeo, J., & Cámara, C. 2007).

Body Paragraph# 2- Objective:
The objective of these experiments is to show the effects of common pollutant and show how contaminated water can be filtered into drinking water. Water is the main item to help everyone and everything survive on this planet. “ Water is vital to food production: every calorie of plant food requires at least one liter of water, while one calorie of meat or dairy product can require up to 10 liters of water” (Wahlquist, A. 2009).In order for us to survive, we need to figure out a filtration system that successfully works. Finding fresh water is very important to our ecosystem.

Body Paragraph # 2 – Hypothesis
I Hypothesized that vinegar and Laundry detergent would contaminate the water and oil will not contaminate the water. Oil already separates itself from water therefore, I don’t think oil will contaminate the water. I also hypothesized that as water goes through the filter technique that I used will filter the water. I thought this would work because of the different layers the water had to go through. Lastly, I hypothesized that Figi water will contain the most contaminants because it doesn’t have a great filtration system as the Dasani water may have.

Materials and Methods

Body Paragraph #1
These experiments were conducted in my home in Mchenry, Illinois On March 31st, 2014. My tap water, bottled Dasani water and bottled Figi water were used in these experiments with no other outside water being used. Each of these experiments were conducted solely by myself. In the first lab I tested the effects of common pollutants on groundwater. For this lab I labeled 8, 240ml beakers 1-8. The first 4 beakers I put 100ml of water in them. Then, I added 10ml of oil to beaker 2 and stirred it until it was stirred thoroughly. After it was stirred thoroughly I wrote down my observation. I did the same steps with vinegar(10ml)which was put in beaker 3 and laundry detergent (10ml) which was put in beaker 4. Once I got all the mixtures stirred I cut a piece of cheesecloth into 5 pieces. Then I folded the cloth into 4 pieces lining the funnel. I then placed the tunnel inside beaker 5 adding 60ml of soil. Next, I added beaker 1 to 5. I waited 1 minute for it to filter through and wrote down my observation. Lastly, I repeated the steps for beakers 2,3 and 4.

The second experiment was an experiment that showed one method of water treatment. To start this experiment I added 100ml of soil to the 250 ml beaker. Then I added water until it got to the 200ml mark. Then I poured that mixture into a empty 250ml beaker. I poured the solution back and fourth 15 times. Once the mixture was created I poured 10ml of the “Contaminated” water into a 100ml beaker. I then added 10 grams of alum to the 250ml beaker that is contaminated. I mixed the solution for 1-2 minutes and then let it sit for 15mintues.While I let it sit I washed out the 250ml beaker then I put a 4 layer cheesecloth in the funnel that was placed in the 250ml beaker. Then I layered the funnel with 40ml of sand, 20ml of activated charcoal and 40ml of gravel. Then I poured clean tap water through the filter until the funnel was full. I poured the clean tap water through the filter 4 more times. After that was done, I poured ¾ of the contaminated water into the filter for 5 minutes. After 5minutes I then added a few drops of bleach to the filtered water and slowly stirred the combination for 1 minute.

The third experiment I did was to see the quality of tap water, Dasani water and Fuji water. I first labeled 250ml beakers Tap, Dasani and Fuji. I then poured 100ml of each water type into there specific beaker. The first strip test I did was the ammonia test. I placed the strip in each of the 3 beakers for 30 seconds to see the test strip level. Then compared to the strip color to the colored charts that were given. I repeated the same steps for chloride except for putting the test strip in for 1 second. Next, I did the 4 in 1 test repeating the same steps besides placing the test strip in the beaker for 5 seconds. Lastly, I did the iron test. I removed 70ml from each beaker leaving 30ml in each beaker. I then repeated the steps done in the above.

The first part of the lab showed that the vinegar oil and detergent contaminated the water but the oil separated from the water and did not contaminate the water with out any filtration. In the second part of the lab the contaminated water went through filtration, which then turned into drinking water. The third part of the lab showed that tap water has the most contamination. The tap water has a few high numbers compared to Dasani and Figi. It ranked high in Chloride being 500mg/l, ph 7mg/l and total alkalinity 10mg/l. Dasani had the lowest numbers. For Dasani the pH was the highest in its water and it was 3 mg/l. Discussion

The first Hypothesis I accepted, which was that oil did not contaminate the water because oil and water separate. So the oil stayed in the soil while the water went into the cup. I also accepted the hypothesis that laundry detergent would contaminate the water because you could see the bubbles as the water reached the bottom. Lastly, I couldn’t determine if the vinegar contaminated the water. I smelled it in the soil but not so much in the water and vinegar is clear so it was hard to tell. On my second lab I accepted my hypothesis which is as the water drips into the filtration it will get filtered. This being said I accepted it because the water before was dirty and as it when through the filtration system it came out clear.

Body Paragraph #1 – Context:

I think for many people buying bottled water is not worth the dollar. The reason they say this because there water tastes the same and smells the same. I use to drink tap water fine before I moved to a small town in Mchenry, Illinois called McCullom Lake. “ More than 100 residents poured in to the McCullom Lake Village Hall earlier this week after a crushing development in a court case that many had hoped would resolve once and for all whether a nearby chemical plant had polluted the water and air, causing dozens of their friends and neighbors to develop brain tumors” (Duaa Eldeib,2010). Fears in this little town grew as many thought the water was causing brain cancer. “30 in all, among current and former residents of McCullom Lake” ( Martin, David S, 2010). A nearby chemical plant had dumped their wastes off site since 1978 in which those chemicals where found in the groundwater. I think this is a great example to show that we don’t know what is in our ground water and it could be life threatening. Therefore, I think bottled water is worth every dollar.

Body Paragraph # 3 – Variables and Future Experiments:

While doing these experiments one thing came to my mind and that is does the room temperature play a role in these results? When I did these tests my house was warm and muggy. I also did the experiment on the floor instead of a table. Also, What if the water itself was a different temperature? There are so many things that you need to take in to count to get exactly what you are looking for.


Body Paragraph #1:

“Consumers are the last stage in Drinking Water Supply Systems (DWSS) and they are characterized by their vulnerability to hazards due to the proximity of consumption point” (Pérez-Vidal, A., Amézquita-Marroquín, C., & Torres-Lozada, P. 2013).Water is very important to our earth. If we don’t get rid of chemicals and other items the correct way it could destroy our earth. Water contamination has become very well known these days. In order to survive we need clean water that isn’t polluted. We all can do a little to make our waters safe and clean.


Eldeib, Duaa. “A Village Waits … and Worries.” Chicago Tribune. N.p., 18 Nov. 2010. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-11-18/news/ct-met-cancer-cluster-20101118_1_cancer-cluster-brain-cancer-brain-tumors

Martin, David S. “What Killed Frank Branham?” CNN. Cable News Network, 14 Sept. 2010. Web. 07 Apr. 2014. http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/09/14/mccullom.lake.cancer.cluster/index.html


Muñoz-Olivas, R., Bouaid, A., Liva, M., Fernández-Hernando, P., Tadeo, J., & Cámara, C. (2007). New perspectives for the application of diatomaceous earth to the remediation of polluted waters and soils. Revista CENIC Ciencias Quimicas, 38(2), 283-287.

Pérez-Vidal, A., Amézquita-Marroquín, C., & Torres-Lozada, P. (2013). Water Safety Plans: Risk assessment for consumers in Drinking Water Supply Systems. Ingeniería Y Competitividad, 15(2), 237-251.

Wahlquist, A. (2009). Water and Its Role in Food and Health Security – the Importance of Water to Food Production. Asia Pacific Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, 18(4), 501.

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