Environmental Studies Paper on Water Quality
Water is one of the essential resources needed by both plants and animals. In fact, neither of them can survive without the resource. However, at times water is contaminated by various materials, which make it unsafe for human consumption and a hindrance to healthy plant growth. Water contamination occurs when foreign, harmful materials, such as chemicals are allowed to mix into water sources. It is essential to research and find out how much of the hazardous products are present in the water that people assume as safe (Mirvis and Delude 49). Undoubtedly, people assume that bottled and tap water are free of contaminants, which is false as exemplified by numerous research studies done on water.
Contrary to popular belief, both tapped and bottled water contains harmful chemicals which need to be identified and the risks they pose to human life graded. In essence, some of the bottled water is filtered tap water. For more than two decades now, the list of harmful products in bottled water has not been updated despite many types of research focusing on the same. Some chemicals found in water are carcinogenic (EPA 1). Bottled water contains harmful products which were not regulated since they are still permissible and within legal threshold. Some chemicals are allowed in small concentration, but this does not mean they are harmless.
Test tubes, test strips, water samples, burette, and pipette.
Note that wearing hand gloves while handling the samples and during testing is highly advised.
Ph testing, Nitrate testing, Dissolved oxygen testing, Magnesium testing, Chloride test, Fluoride testing, Iron testing
The test tubes were rinsed with water and then filled with the sampled water. Consequently, 10drops of the indicator solution were added and the solution mixed. Finally, the tube was inserted into a wide range pH comparator and held against the light to compare, which allowed the pH test color to match and note the pH of the samples.
Water was added up to the 2.5 ml mark on the tube and then diluted with the 2.5 ml acid reagent. The mixture was then capped for approximately two minutes. The tube was then inserted into a nitrate nitrogen comparator and the color matched to the color standard. The result was recorded in mg/L
Dissolved oxygen testing
Eight drops of both manganous sulfate solution and alkaline potassium iodide azide were added to a tube of water sample. The contents in the tube mixed and capped ensuring no bubbles were introduced during mixing the solution. The brownish-orange precipitate was regularly monitored before allowing it to stand until the precipitate faded. Then eight drops of sulphuric acid were added. The test solution was covered and inverted until the precipitate dissolved. Moreover, the titration tube was then made upto the 20 ml line with the fixed sample and covered. The direct reading titrator was loaded with sodium thiosulphate 0.025N reagent and added dropwise to the fixed sample with slow swirling until the brown color faded to a faint yellow.
Sampled water was added to a test tube, a test strip inserted in the sample, and monitored until the strip changed color. Consequently, the color was compared with the chart provided to note the chloride concentration.
The sampled water was poured into a test-tube. Then a test strip was inserted into the tube to compare the color change with its pre-printed color chart to determine the concentration of magnesium.
Sampled water was poured into a test tube. An Aquaread multiparameter water testing equipment often sensitive to concentration of fluoride ion in water was inserted. The concentrations readings often range from 0mg/L to 1,000mg/L. The results were compared.
Sample water was poured into a test tube. Measuring iron levels involves letting the sample water sit for a few minutes to determine presence of tiny red particles floating at the bottom of the test tube.
Water testing procedures are grouped into three categories; physical, chemical, and bacteriological tests. The physical test focuses on the color, odor, turbidity and presence of suspended solids
Fluoride concentrations of 0.7-1.2 mg/L protects against dental cavities. Excess concentrations, however, cause adverse effects and discoloration of teeth. In the sample tested, the fluoride concentration was higher than recommended. Chloride can cause water to have a salty taste and corrodes water plumbing systems. Additionally, magnesium concentrations of more than 125mg/L have a laxative effect on people. High levels of nitrates in water may cause blue-baby disease but do not affect adults. Thus, drinking water should have a pH in the range of 6.5-8.5; a very low pH leads to acidity. However, the sample contents analyzed by the testing were deemed safe for all contents except fluoride.
Due to water pollution and the possibility of chemical contaminants in water sources, the quality of water used by humans needs be tested to ascertain its safety levels. Testing enables one to use water that has chemicals in the recommended safe concentration levels to avoid accumulation and hence harm to living organisms. It is not safe to assume that bottled water is always safe for human consumption as sometimes it contains chemicals and other contents that may adversely affect the health of the consumers (Mirvis and Delude 49). In conclusion, substances such as lead can be found in water in small concentration, but after long-term use, they accumulate leading to the development of diseases when consumed continuously.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). What are Water Quality Standards? Washington, D.C.: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Report, 2016.
Mirvis, Kenneth and Delude, Cathryn. Water Quality Testing. Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, A Field-Based Water Quality testing Program for Middle Schools and High Schools, 2015.