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Drinking Water Quality Investigation Abstract

DrinkingWater Quality Investigation

Abstract

Wateris very essential to human life. As such, water is taken through awater treatment plan before it can be released to consumers forconsumption. Tap water is mainly comprised of water that has onlyundergone the treatment plan as its processing protocol. Bottledwater brands may undergo further enrichment in their processingprocedures. This experiment was designed to find out the amount ofchemical content that is in tap water, Dasani and Fiji water brands.Chemicals that were looked at were iron, ammonium, chlorine,phosphate and chloride. Alkalinity, pH and hardness of the watersamples were also investigated. Tap water was found to be lacking anychemical content while the two bottled water brands had significantamounts of chemicals. Tap water was therefore inferred to being thesafest water to consume among the three samples. Dasani water alsocontained a high level of acidity, which is not recommended. However,Fiji water contained the highest level of phosphate ions, which isvery beneficial to human health. The content of phosphate ions andtheir utility in the body is an advantage that bottled water brandshave over tap water.

DrinkingWater Quality Investigation

Wateris a very essential resource to the life of a human being. It isheavily utilized not only in drinking, but also in food productionand cooking. Consuming water that is contaminated is associated witha number of threats to the health and well-being of an individual.This is because a lot of diseases, toxins and poisons can reside incontaminated water (Werick, 2015). One significant risk to the healthof an individual that contaminated water can pose is disposing theunfortunate consumer to cancer (Werick, 2015). With the variety ofthreats and risks that contaminated water poses to individuals,municipal authorities and water producing and packaging industrieshave saw it fit to take water through a thorough water treatment planbefore they deem the water drinkable and ready to be dispensed toconsumers.

Theprocess of ensuring water quality commences with the proceduralprocess known as aeration. This process is done with the aim ofreleasing gases that are trapped in the water, and letting the spacethat was occupied by these undesirable gasses become occupied withoxygen (Storey, van der Gaag &amp Burns, 2011). Coagulation is thenext step, whereby chemicals like filter alum are added to the water,and the water is stirred. The stirring is facilitated by a powerfulmixer to ensure that the mixing process of the alum and water ismaximized and optimized (Tanalleri, Bosche, Boyle and Mykerezi,2015). The alum will precipitate compounds such as hydroxides andcarbonates, which will then attract dirt particles in the water. Thenext step is known as sedimentation, whereby the particles thatsettled out in the previous step are separated out, and the waterthat remains is released for filtration (Storey, van der Gaag &ampBurns, 2011). The filter is made up of layers that are composed ofcharcoal, gravel, pebbles and sand which pick up particles that havenot been separated from the water up to this point. The final stepthat is carried out is disinfection, whereby chlorine and otherdisinfectants are added with the aim of killing any bacteria that arepresent in the water.

Itshould be noted that the water treatment process is not sufficient inensuring quality of drinking water, and the water must be tested forvarious components as outlined in the parliamentary act, the SafeWater Drinking Act. This Act is applicable in the experiment that isto be carried out today. Around 65 contaminants are monitored indrinking water to ensure that the water is safe for consumers. Someof the monitored components include: chromium, lead, selenium, pH,arsenic and metals. Physical properties such as smell and color arealso monitored.

Thelack of complexity in the processing of water for distribution toconsumers has led to the emergence of many brands of bottled water(Tanalleri, Bosche, Boyle and Mykerezi, 2015). It has also beenpreferred by many consumers on the fact that the water is enrichedwith many minerals, which are vital for human health. However, asignificant percentage of the general population is unaware of theprocess that bottled water has to go through before it is madeavailable to them for consumption (Storey, van der Gaag &amp Burns,2011). As a result, this cohort of the population has no motivationto buy bottled water. They find the difference between bottled waterand tap water to be very insignificant, even though it is claimedthat bottled water is mineralized water (Tanalleri, Bosche, Boyle andMykerezi, 2015). The objective of this experiment is to thereforefind out the levels of various chemical contents in tap and Dasaniand Fiji brands of bottled water, and thus provide information thatcan be used to determine if there are benefits to the health of ahuman being that are associated with drinking bottled water.. It ishypothesized by the author of this report that among the threesamples of water, tap water has the highest amount of chemicals. Theauthor also hypothesizes that Dasani has a higher amount of chemicalswhen compared to the Fiji brand, as Dasani has a sharper taste.

Materialsand methods

Materials

Thematerials utilized in this experiment include:

  • Dasani bottled water

  • Fiji bottled water

  • Tap water

  • Jiffy Juice

  • Ammonia test strips

  • Chloride test strips

  • 4 in 1 test strips

  • Phosphate test strips

  • Iron test strips

  • Three 250 ml beakers

  • Three 100 ml beakers

  • 100 ml graduated cylinder

  • Permanent marker

  • Stopwatch

  • Parafilm

  • Pipettes

  • Foil packets

Dasanibottled water, Fiji bottled water and tap water represented thesamples that were to be used in this experiment. Jiffy juice wasused in measuring the pH of the sample waters. Ammonia and chloridetest strips were used to test for ammonium and chloride ionsrespectively. The 4 in 1 test strips were used to test for a panel ofproperties, including alkalinity, hardness and chlorine in the testwater samples. The phosphate and iron test strips were used to testfor phosphate and iron ions respectively in the test water samples.The beakers provided the matrix in which some of the the reactionswould take place. The 100ml graduated cylinder was used in measuringappropriate volumes that would be needed. The stopwatch was used fortiming reactions which needed to be timed. The parafilm was used forsealing the beaker when solutions were present and reactions weretaking place. Pipettes were used in mixing the sample waters with thejiffy juice during the process of pH measurement. Finally, the foilpackets provided an alternative for material to be used in sealingthe beaker and facilitating mixing over the course of reactions.

Methods

Thetap water, Dasani water and Fiji water were poured into threeseparate 250ml beakers and then labeled appropriately. The ammoniatest strip was then dipped into the beaker containing the tap waterfor 30 seconds. The strip was then subsequently removed and held withthe test pad facing the upper side for one minute. The color adoptedby the pad was compared to and matched with the chart. Theobservations of the color of the pad in comparison to the color ofthe chart were recorded. This same procedure was repeated for theDasani and the Fiji water samples respectively.

Thepad on the chloride test strip was also dipped into the beakercontaining tap water for a second. The strip was then removed and thestrip was held with the pad facing upwards for a single minute. Thecolor of the pad was then compared and matched with the chart, andthen subsequently recorded. This was repeated for the Dasani and theFiji water samples respectively.

The4 in 1 test strip was also dipped in the tap water sample for fiveseconds and then held up for twenty seconds with the pads facingupwards. The color characteristics of the pads were then comparedwith the color characteristics interpretation chart for alkalinity,hardness and chloride. This was also done for Dasani and Fiji watersamples respectively.

Thephosphate test strip was also dipped in the beaker containing tapwater for 5 seconds. The strip was then removed and held horizontallyfor a period of 45 seconds. The color of the strip was then matchedwith the color characteristics in the interpretation chart fordetermination of concentration levels. This procedure wassubsequently repeated for the Dasani and Fiji water samplesrespectively.

Fordetermination of the levels of iron, 3ml of tap, Dasani and Fijiwater was poured into three separate beakers. A packet containingreducing powder was then added to the beaker containing tap water.Parafilm was then used to seal the beaker. The solution was thenmixed via thorough shaking. The color shown by the beaker was thencompared to a chart for interpretation of concentration levels. Thesame procedure was repeated for the Fiji and Dasani water samples.

ThepH of the tap water was also measured using the jiffy juice solution.5ml of the Jiffy juice was mixed with 25ml of the tap water throughthe use of a pipette. A color change was observed, and the mixturewas held up against the interpretation chart for comparison purposes,to find out the value of pH shown against the corresponding color,thereby obtaining the pH value of the tap water. The same procedurewas repeated for the Dasani and Fiji water respectively.

Results

Theresults for the investigations carried above are represented intables 1-6 below:

Table1: Ammonia test results

Water Sample

Test results

Tap water

0 mg/L

Dasani bottled water

0 mg/L

Fiji bottled water

0 mg/L

Table2: Chloride test results

Water Sample

Test results

Tap water

0 mg/L

Dasani bottled water

500mg/L

Fiji bottled water

500mg/L

Table3: 4 in 1 test results

Water sample

Total alkalinity

(mg/L)

Total chlorine

(mg/L)

Total hardness

(mg/L)

Tap water

80

0

0

Dasani bottled water

20

0

50

Fiji bottled water

80

1

0

Table4: Phosphate test results

Water Sample

Test results

Tap water

0 ppm

Dasani bottled water

10 ppm

Fiji bottled water

50 ppm

Table5: Iron test results

Water Sample

Test results

Tap water

0 ppm

Dasani bottled water

0 ppm

Fiji bottled water

0.15ppm

Table6: pH results

Water Sample

Test results

Tap water

4.0

Dasani bottled water

2.0

Fiji bottled water

7.0

Fromthe tables, it can be seen that none of the water samples containedtraces of ammonium ions. The bottled water samples, Dasani and Fiji,contained equal amounts of traces of chloride ions however, but thetap water didn’t contain any traces of chloride ions. However, allthe samples except Fiji tap water did not contain any trace ofchlorine. Dasani water contained the lowest levels of alkalinity andwas also the only sample which contained hardness. Fiji bottledwater, on the other hand, contained the highest level of phosphateions, followed by Dasani and the tap water respectively. All the testsamples lacked iron, although Fiji water contained a slight trace.Finally, Fiji, Dasani and tap water were observed to contain a pH of7 ppm, 2 ppm and 4 ppm respectively.

Discussion

Theauthor rejected his initial hypothesis, as it was very clear that thetap water contained absolutely zero traces of any form of chemicalsor minerals. On the contrary, significant amounts of chemicals weredetermined from the bottled water brands. The Fiji water brand whichthe author hypothesized to contain the least amount of chemicalsactually turned out to being the one with the highest chemicalcontent among the three samples. It is therefore rightly in orderhowever the situation is looked at to reject the initial hypothesis.However, Fiji water was the only sample that was found to contain asafe pH as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency of theUnited States. The agency outlines that the pH of human drinkingwater should be in the range of 6.5-8.5 (Werick, 2015). Tap water wasseen to being weakly acidic while Dasani water was strongly acidic.This has very large implications to the consumers who have beenloyally and regularly consuming Dasani water, as its strong aciditycan predispose an individual to metabolic complications and acidityrelated derangements such as heartburns (Storey, van der Gaag &ampBurns, 2011).

Theresults also revealed that it was far much healthier to regularlyconsume tap water as compared to the bottled water brands as tapwater did not contain any traces of chemicals, which can subsequentlybecome harmful to one’s health. The reason tap water may not becontaining any traces of chemicals is because the water is channeledto households and other interested parties directly from the watertreatment plant. It does not go through any further processing whichbecome opportunities for introduction of chemicals to water. Thebottled water brands on the other hand are added to chemicals and theso called minerals in a bid to add value to the water. Phosphate ionshowever add a big nutritional value to water, as the ions are highlyutilized in the body’s metabolic processes (Tanalleri, Bosche,Boyle &amp Mykerezi, 2015). On this front, the Fiji water added themost value to a human body as it contained the largest amounts ofphosphate traces. This was followed by the Dasani brand and the tapwater respectively. This shows that individuals who have beenregularly consuming Fiji and Dasani water have been consumingsignificantly large traces of phosphate ions.

Basedon the results above, it is clear that the cohort of individuals whothought that bottled water brands do not have much of an advantage totap water are somehow justified. This is because it has been clearthat tap water does not contain any traces of chemicals which can beharmful to human health, but bottled water contains a significantquantity of them. However, with regards to phosphate ions and thevalue that they add to the human body, bottled water brands can beconsidered to be more beneficial to human health as compared to tapwater.

Afactor that may have affected the outcome of this experiment is thechart comparison method that was used to interpret amounts of thechemicals in the water. This method is very vulnerable to error, asthe colors may have been inaccurately matched and people are usuallysubjective when it comes to color, and thus their subjective view ofa color that is revealed can lead to inaccurate interpretations ofthe concentrations of these chemicals. Spectrophotometry was morelikely to produce accurate results. The author also proposes thatother bottled water brands can be tested for their chemical contentsas a future experiment, as it has been observed that water brandswhich were considered prestigious can contain undesirable chemicals.

Conclusion

Theresults and interpretations from the experiment have shown thatbottled water brands contain more traces of chemicals than tap water.It is thus more healthy and advantageous to consume tap water ascompared to bottled water. However, bottled water has an advantageover tap water in that it contains significant amounts of phosphateions while tap water completely lacks phosphate ions. Phosphate ionsare highly utilized in the body’s metabolic processes, and sinceFiji water contained more amounts of these ions than Dasani water,Fiji water can be considered to be the more beneficial water brand ofthe two brands. Dasani water was also seen to be very acidic, andthis is detrimental to human health.

References

Storey,M. V., van der Gaag, B., &amp Burns, B. P. (2011). Advances inon-line drinking water quality monitoring and early warning systems.WaterResearch, 45(2),741-747.

Tanellari,E., Bosch, D., Boyle, K., &amp Mykerezi, E. (2015). On consumers`attitudes and willingness to pay for improved drinking water qualityand infrastructure. WaterResources Research, 51(1),47-57. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2013wr014934

WaterQuality and Agriculture. (2013). WaterIntelligence Online,12. http://dx.doi.org/10.2166/9781780406022

Werick,G. (2015). Waterquality and contamination lab manual.Retrieved fromhttps://prezi.com/yxtqnbfsausx/sci-207-week-2-lab-2-water-quality-and-contamination/

WorldHealth Organization. (2011). Guidelines for drinking-water quality.Geneva: world health organization.