Wednesday, March 22, 2017

It’s Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {Awesome Aquifer Kit: Clean it up!}

This week in Frannie’s exploration of the Awesome AquiferKit is all about ways we can clean up the groundwater after it’s been contaminated.

For this activity, you will need pre-rinsed activated
charcoal, a small plastic cup, plastic wrap, a coffee filter,
a rubber band,and your cup of polluted water.
Just like we talked about last time, when we aren’t careful about which chemicals we use, how much of them we use, or how we dispose of them when we’re done, we can end up polluting a large area.  Often, it’s possible to clean up or treat the water so that it becomes safe again. We call this process remediation.  Let’s look at some ways we can remediate contaminated groundwater.

Remember that colored contaminated groundwater we set aside last time?  We’ll be using that now.  To start, we’ll fill a small plastic cup halfway full with charcoal.  Before we used this charcoal, we rinsed it with cool water and then let it completely dry to remove excess dust.

Fill the syringe with some of our colored water and dispense it into the charcoal cup, filling it about 3/4 full.  We’ll make a lid for our cup by cutting a small piece of plastic cling wrap so that it fits over the top of the cup and we’ll wrap it with a rubber band so it stays in place.  Shake the cup for 30-60 seconds and then remove the plastic wrap.

First shake...
...then strain.

Now we’ll make a second lid from a coffee filter and secure it with the rubber band again.  We flip the cup upside down and let the water, now mostly clean, pour out into a new cup.  You might need to repeat this step a couple times to clear all of the water of charcoal dust.  When we take water out of the water cycle to treat it, it’s called ex-situ remediation.  If we were to put something into the ground to clean and treat the water, that would be called in-situ remediation.

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