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Lab 2 – Water Quality and Contamination

Experiment 1: Effects of Groundwater Contamination

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Table 1: Water Observations (Smell, Color, Etc.)

Beaker Observations

1 Water is perfectly clear/No odor

2 Cloudy/oil sits top of water/no odor

3

Slight odor/almost unidentifiable other then 

smell/good clarity

4

Slightly cloudy/bubbles form on surface/no 

odor

5 Water is brown in color/some sediment/no odor

6

Water is brown in color/some sediment/no 

odor/still a presence of oil/very cloudy/oil 

collected in soil

7

Water is brown in color/cloudy/some 

sediment/strong odor

8

Water is dark brown/soap bubbles in soil/light 

brown film on top of water

POST LAB QUESTIONS

1. Develop hypotheses on the ability of oil, vinegar, and laundry detergent to contaminate 

groundwater.

© eScience Labs, 2013 – 1 – 

[no notes on this page]a. Oil hypothesis = Oil will not contaminate or change the amount of water filter.

b. Vinegar hypothesis = Vinegar will contaminate through the soil allowing the water to 

filer through.

c. Laundry detergent hypothesis = Laundry detergent will contaminate the soil by 

allowing the water to pass through.

2. Based on the results of your experiment, would you reject or accept each hypothesis 

that you produced in question 1? Explain how you determined this.

a. Oil hypothesis accept/reject = Accept// Oil is trapped in the soil.

b. Vinegar hypothesis accept/reject = Accept// Vinegar passed through the soil, because 

it changed the velocity of the water.

c. Laundry detergent hypothesis accept/reject = Reject// Laundry detergent also changed 

the viscosity of the water.

3. What affects did each of the contaminants have on the water in the experiment? Which 

contaminant seemed to have the most potent effect on the water?

© eScience Labs, 2013 – 2 – 

[no notes on this page]Answer = from what I observed, oil is saturated into the soil leaving little to none of the 

water to pass through. While the vinegar passed through the soil leaving more dirty water.

Based on what I think, vinegar is saturated and a natural substance while oil is a manmade 

product and a much thicker substance. Oil absorbed the soil leaving the water less 

contaminated. My conclusion, vinegar was the more potent liquid. 

Using at least 1 scholarly source, discuss what type of affects these contaminants (oil, 

vinegar, detergent) might have on a town’s water source and the people who drank the 

water?

Answer = According to Wisconsin Natural Resource, “Everyday activities can affect 

groundwater quality. Think about the ways you use water at home. If you’ve always 

considered pure, clean water to be a cheap, unlimited resource, chances are you’re 

accustomed to wasting water and haven’t been concerned about what you pour down the 

drain (DNR.WI.GOV, 1999).” We don’t realize how much toxins is released into the water 

if we’re not careful on the proper disposal of oil, laundry detergent. One way to destroy our 

water supply is adding unnecessary chemicals into our water supply and by doing this; we 

have added an unbalance into our water supply causing us to suffer and not to mention other 

animals that rely on the fresh water. I can only say that I do enjoy drinking fresh bottle 

water. Drinking unclean clean water is hazardous to our health. Water can carry an 

abundance of unknown bacteria that the eye can’t detect. Of course, drinking polluted water 

can make the whole town sick and may cause severe unknown sickness that the human body 

cannot fight. 

© eScience Labs, 2013 – 3 – 

[no notes on this page]Describe what type of human activity would cause contaminants like oil, acid and 

detergents to flow into the water supply? Additionally, what other items within your 

house do you believe could contaminate the water supply if you were to dump them 

onto the ground?

Answer = Oils can be spilt pretty easily when doing any type of work to motorized vehicles, I think acid 

would come from pollution and distributed into the ground during a rainfall, and detergents could possibly get 

to the water source by sewage from people as well as runoff from farmers fields.

© eScience Labs, 2013 – 4 – 

[no notes on this page]Experiment 2: Water Treatment

POST LAB QUESTIONS

1. Develop a hypothesis on the ability of your filtration technique to remove contaminants.

Hypothesis = Using different coagulants coupled with materials with different alkalinity can 

remove most groundwater contaminants. 

2. Based on the results of your experiment, would you reject or accept the hypothesis that 

you produced in question 1? Explain how you determined this.

© eScience Labs, 2013 – 5 – 

[no notes on this page]Accept/Reject = Accept// the coagulants bonded to the larger particles and separated the water

from the contaminants. The bleach further decontaminant the water by changing the alkalinity of

the water.

3. What are the differences in color, smell, visibility, etc. between the “contaminated” 

water and the “treated” water?

Answer = the treated water is mostly clearly, without no odor from the contaminants.

4. From the introduction to this lab, you know that there are typically five steps involved 

in the water treatment process. Identify the processes (e.g., coagulation) that were used 

in this lab and describe how they were performed.

Answer = 

Step1: Cause the soil to separate from the water

Step2: Use the time to allow contents to separate

Step3: Use the rocks to separate large particles from the water

Step4: Use charcoal / sand to filter smaller particles from the water

Step5: Use the caustic chemicals to decontaminate the water

 

Experiment 3: Drinking Water Quality

© eScience Labs, 2013 – 6 – 

[no notes on this page]Table 2: Ammonia Test Results

Water Sample

Test Results

Tap Water

0

Dasani® Bottled Water

0

Fiji® Bottled Water

0

Table 3: Chloride Test Results

Water Sample Test Results

Tap Water 500

Dasani® Bottled Water 0

Fiji® Bottled Water 0

Table 4: 4 in 1 Test Results

Water Sample pH Total Alkalinity Total Chlorine Total Hardness

Tap Water 6 120 1.0 0

Dasani® Bottled Water 2 0 1.0 0

Fiji® Bottled Water 8 0 4.0 50

Table 5: Phosphate Test Results

© eScience Labs, 2013 – 7 – 

1

1. Need to attach units to all

your values. [Alisha

Etheredge]Water Sample Test Results

Tap Water

50

Dasani® Bottled Water

10

Fiji® Bottled Water

100

Table 6: Iron Test Results

Water Sample Test Results

Tap Water 0.15

Dasani® Bottled Water 0

Fiji® Bottled Water 0

POST LAB QUESTIONS

1. Develop a hypothesis on which water source you believe will contain the most and least 

contaminants.

Hypothesis = the tap water will contain the most contaminants because it is traveling through 

pipers in unknown condition, whereas, the bottle water is in a sterile, controlled 

environment. The Dasani water is treated whereas Fiji comes from natural springs. 

Therefore, Dasani will have the least contaminants.

© eScience Labs, 2013 – 8 – 

[no notes on this page]2. Based on the results of your experiment, would you reject or accept the hypothesis that 

you produced in question 1? Explain how you determined this.

Accept/reject = I would neither accept or a reject. My result was not conclusive based on the 

tap water and Fiji. Both of the water had a higher contaminants but not a clear, which is 

higher in contaminants. Apparently, the Dasani was the purest.

3. Based on the results of your experiment, what major differences, if any, do you notice 

between the Dasani, Fiji, and tap water?

Answer = Overall, Dasani is the closest to pure water. None that I can see physically, that I 

would not notice but by the taste of the water is my only experience. I was taken back. I 

thought the more natural the water the better the tasted would be. 

© eScience Labs, 2013 – 9 – 

[no notes on this page]4. Based on your results, do you believe that bottled water is worth the price? Why or 

why not?

Answer = Yes, I believe bottled water is worth 100% of my money, just because of the simple 

fact that is processed on a controlled environment and I would not have to tack a chance in 

worrying about peoples carless acts of contaminating our water sours. 

*NOTE – Do not forget to go to Lab 3: Biodiversity, and complete “Experiment 1: 

Diversity of Plants” steps 1 through 6. Steps 1 through 6 need to be completed in order to 

be prepared for Week Three, however, results for this experiment will not be calculated 

until next week. Thus, while nothing is to be handed in for this experiment until the end of 

Week Three you must plant the seeds this week to ensure that you can complete week 3 on 

time.

© eScience Labs, 2013 – 10 – 

[no notes on this page]References

Bensel, J. T. (2011). Contemporary Environmental Issues, San Diego: Bridgepoint Education 

Inc.

http://dnr.wi.gov/wnrmag/html/supps/1999/aug99/drink.htm

© eScience Labs, 2013 – 11 – 

[no notes on this page]

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