We think about the future of the water industry and where our next generation of professionals will come from. I encourage you to come to the Illinois Junior Science Fair presentations at WATERCON. They are Wednesday am in Capitol 2. Here are the abstracts from the presenters.
8th Grade Student - This experiment determined what kind of colored paper will be most effective in the desalination of salt water. For this experiment, I constructed two desalination devices; one with black paper and one with white. I then placed both devices in front of a heater for four hours. After four hours, I recorded the amount of salt left in the water and repeated the trial three times with both desalination devices. Based on the results of this experiment, I concluded that black paper was the most effective in desalinating salt water. This is because the color black absorbs heat, while white reflects it. My results explain that while white paper will remove salt, it will not be clean enough water to drink. Black paper will desalinate enough so that the water could become clean drinking water. This method of creating fresh drinking water is used in developing nations as a means of providing usable water. It is extremely necessary for places that do not have access to clean water.
Sophomore High School Student - The purpose of this experiment is to determine which plant works best in phytoremediation, or the use of plants as a filter to remove heavy metal ions from water or soil. Phytoremediation is an inexpensive method of filtering water. In less economically developed countries (LEDCs), filtering water is financially impossible due to the various expenses and safety measures required to use the necessary technologies to filter contaminated water. Especially in catastrophes such as oil spills and the current Flint, Michigan water crisis, determining which plant works most efficiently (in terms of removing the most heavy metal ions) is important. If a region opts to use phytoremediation for filtering contaminated water, knowing the most efficient water weed will enable one to filter their plants in a lesser amount of time and allow them to save money instead of buying water weeds that are not as efficient. This experiment is the same one that won an AWWA award last spring in May.