Water Quality and Contamination 




   Lab 2Water Quality and Contamination experiments



 The experiment investigates the quality of water and contamination of groundwater. Establishing the quality of water is through examining the biological, physical and chemical characteristics of water. These processes were vital in determining how fit and safe water can be for human consumption and also in ensuring that humans are not affected by diseases and chemicals causing organisms. This lab report will first observe the effects of various pollutants of groundwater. My prediction is that vinegar and oil in this experiment would contribute to a large quality of water contamination and that laundry detergent will change the appearance of water and give it a bad smell. Based on the thickness and smells of these ingredients, the water quality will be affected as shown by its cloudy appearance and bad smell. After filtering water, I will be purified and be clear. The second experiment involves water filtering and experiment. My prediction is that when contaminated water is filtered and treated, then its level of contamination is lowered or that the water no longer becomes contaminated. The final experiment involves comparing three types of water to find out which of them has the most chemicals and contamination. This was done by analyzing three types of water samples, which are Dasani® bottled water, Tap water and Fiji® bottled water.



 Water is a valuable resource on this planet because it is vital for the survival of plants, animals and human beings. Water is part of human necessity in areas such as drinking, food production and creating houses. There is a small percentage of usable freshwater on the planet with about 99% of water bring salt water. There are several contaminants that affect the quality of water supply. These contaminants include human waste, laundry detergents, cooking oil, farming activities, gasoline, acidic chemicals, and motor oil among others. These contaminants find their way to aquifers and ground storage regions. Plants, animals and humans are at risk of contamination and gets the disease by consuming contaminated water. Toxins and poisons in the water are the causes of deadly diseases. For example, humans consume water contaminated with lead; they are at a high risk of getting cancer (Renner, 2009).

The government has taken steps in raising the wastewater treatment for water treatment plants. Hover, some contaminants find their way to water supply storages that have been filtered and treated US Environmental Protection Agency has passed policies to raise the standard of drinking water as seen in the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974. Despite the policies, they water supply plants in various municipalities have failed to adhere with the standards. These municipalities’ water supply agencies also face challenges as the high cost of establishing high-quality filtration systems that are effective in trapping all forms of contaminants that could not be eliminated through the traditional methods (EPA 2006).


 Three different experiments will be investigated to determine the final hypothesis about water quality and contamination. The first experiment will analyze the effects of contamination of ground water. The second experiment looks into the issue of water treatment and the third-experiment analyzes the quality of drinking water. There are numerous sampling devices for ground water collection; however, every application has its requirements, and it depends on the type of contaminants. Various sampling devices and applicability of these devices are used for determining contamination. Analysis and preservation techniques for quality assurance and control will be presented.


Experiment 1: Effects of Groundwater Contamination

Hypothesis: when the different types of contaminated water in Beakers are filtered through the soil filter, they will still come out with dirt.

 Oil will be visible in the water when left to settle, and it will separate from water. Water appearance will not change when mixed with vinegar and will also not separate from water. Mixing of laundry detergent to the water will lead to a difference approach whereby water becomes cloudy and soapy.

 Experiment 2: Water Treatment

 Hypothesis: filtration of dirt from the water will be successful but still there will be a small amount of impurities present in water. Thus, water filtration will not be sufficient as a means of water purification and improving its quality. Traces of oil can be visible after filtering the water and, therefore, water is still dirty and contaminated. When vinegar is mixed with water, dirt is filtered. However, there will be a noticeable strong smell of vinegar and a cloudy appearance of water from dirt. Suds from water can be filtered, but still there will be some traces of this contaminant when water is stirred.


Experiment 3: Quality of Drinking water

 Fiji water has the possibility of having a high amount of minerals. Tap water will not be similar to bottle water of Dasani and Fiji in terms of its quality and safety for drinking.

Materials and Methods

 Experiment 1: Effects of Groundwater Contamination

In the experiment to test groundwater contaminates, materials used include three-stir sticks made of wood, eight Beakers of 250-ml, 10-ml of vegetable oil, 100-ml graduated cylinder, liquid laundry detergent of 10-ml, vinegar 10-ml, 240-ml of soil, water, cheesecloth, funnel and liquid laundry detergent of 10-ml. The eight 250-ml Beakers were labeled with a marker from number one to eight. Five through eight were set aside while the Beakers labeled 1 to 4 were filled with 100-ml of water. The graduated cylinder of 100-ml helped in measuring this amount of water. 10-ml of vegetable oil is placed on Beaker number two and stirred thoroughly with a wooden stir stick. 10-ml vinegar was added in Beaker number 3 and also thoroughly stirred with a wooden stick. Liquid laundry detergent of 10-ml was added in Beaker number four and stirred with a wooden stick.

I indicated or noted down my observation of the changes happening in the Beakers one to four. Observations indicated in table 1. The second section of the experiment involves cutting four pieces of cheesecloth into the funnel and soil of 60ML is measured with the help of 100ML cylinder. The solid is poured into the funnel. From Beaker one, I pour its contents through the funnel and let it filter to Beaker labeled 5. I repeat the same for the other three Beakers (2, 3 and 4) using the same technique pouring their contents to Beakers 6 to eight. I observe the reactions taking place in Beakers five through 8 and record them on table 1.

The amusing thing about this experiment was that when vinegar is poured through soil, water was less dirty than other contaminants in other Beakers. The remaining Beakers had a lot of debris floating on top or with cloudy, dirty water.

 Experiment 2: Water Treatment

Materials include; 100-ml Plotting soil, funnel, album, two 250-ml Beakers, bleach, water, stop watch, 40-ml Sand, 100-ml graduated cylinder, two 100-ml Beakers, 1 wooden stir stick, 60-ml gravel, 20-ml Activated charcoal and cheesecloth. I placed 100-ml soil on 250-ml Beaker, and then filled the Beaker with 200-ml water. I stirred the solution for fifteen minutes using two 250-ml Beakers. The resultant contaminated water is then poured on a clean Beaker of 100-ml. The sample will be used to compare with treated water after the filtration process. I then add ten grams of album to 250-ml Beaker with contaminated water. I stir for two minutes and let the solution settle for fifteen minutes. I then rinse the other empty 250-ml Beaker and place a clean funnel on top of it. I fold a piece of cloth into four layers so that it becomes big enough to cover the entire region inside the funnel. I start layering the funnel by pouring 40-ml sand into the lined cheesecloth on the funnel. The sand is followed by another layer of 20-ml activated charcoal and lastly by 40-ml gravel. I measure the amounts of these items using the 100-ml Beaker. I slowly pour clean tap water to solidify the filter to the level whereby, the funnel becomes full. I pour out the collected water at the Beaker and repeat the same four more times. Finally, I return the funnel on an empty Beaker and let the water drip for 5 minutes before finally emptying the last drop to continue with the experiment.

 I take ¾ of contaminated water and pour it through the Funnel, giving it enough time of five minute to filter through the funnel to the Beaker. I then smell the filtered water and compare it with the filtered water in step 2. I added a few drops of bleaching solution to the filtered water in the Beaker and stirred for a minute. I then compared the contaminated water and the newly filtered water.

Experiment 3: Quality of Drinking water

Materials for this experiment included; Fiji bottled water; Dasani bottled water, tap water, chloride test strips, iron test strips, phosphate test strips, 4 in 1-test strips, Beakers, pipettes and paradigm.

 The method of this experiment involved the following steps. Three Beakers are labeled into Fiji water, Tap water and Dasani water. 100-ml of water is poured to their corresponding Beakers. The first test was using an ammonia test strip by reading the package instructions. I studied the results from the chloride test strip for thirty seconds and compared the resulting colors on the color chart from the three Beakers. I proceed to carrying out a chloride test and reading instructions of the package. I also use 30 seconds to compare the chloride test results by observing the colors of test t strips in three Beakers. I undertake the 4 in 1-test by using test strip. I read its results after 20 seconds and compare the resulting colors of the test strip. The fourth step involved performing phosphate tests and reading its results for 45 second by comparing the color of the strip on the color chart. I also do the same for an iron test.


Experiment 1


Table 1; water observations

Beaker number Observations
1 No smell, water is clear
2 Water is clear, oil floating at the top and no smell
3 Water is clear, smell of vinegar
4  Cloudy appearance of water, a faint smell, at the top of water there is the film
5  Dark brown colored water, smells like dirt, water, is dirt, dirt bits floating on water surface, water is not transparent.
6  Dark brown cloud, water, is dirt, bits floating on top, no smell
7  Cloudy was looking but clear, dirt at the bottom and some floating on top, a vinegar smell
8 Dark brown water, water is very dirty, I cannot see the bottom and no smell


Experiment 2

 The experiment involved comparing the contaminated water with the newly filtered water. Contaminated water appeared to be grey in color and had a pungent smell. It also had a reduced visibility level and appeared fuzzy. For the newly filtered water, the album separated the debris, and it cleared the water from dirt. It had a clean smell and water was clear. There were no visible sediments.


 Experiment 3

  1. Results for chloride test
Water sample Test Results
 Dasani Violet
Tap water  Light violet
Fiji light violet


  1. Quantitative data for chloride, iron and phosphate tests


Water sample Results for chloride Phosphate Iron test
Fiji bottled water Detected zero mg/l of chloride Detected 100 pm of phosphate

 Yellow color

Zero ppm of iron detected

Light grey.

Dasani bottled water Detected zero mg/l of chloride Detected zero ppm of phosphate


Zero ppm iron detected

Light grey

Tap water Detected zero mg/l of chloride Tap water had 50 ppm phosphates

Yellow color

Zero ppm of iron detected

Light grey



4 in 1-test strip

Water Sample Ph Total Alkalinity Total Chlorine Total Hardness
Tap Water light red green Yellow light brown
Dasani light red green light green light brown
Fiji light red green Yellow light brown



Experiment 1

Discussion for experiment 1

Many contaminants can find their way into water supply of municipalities, and this can be. As a result, of poor handling of theses contaminates. For example, tracking and directional drilling practices for new energy expose well water and water supplies at risks. Studies have shown that the upstate regions of northern Pennsylvania and New York have high-contamination level with methane found in drinking water. The contamination is due to active extraction of gas (Osborn, Vengosh, Warner, & Jackson, 2011). Other human activities resulting to water contamination include automobile accidents that lead to spilling of diesel or unleaded gasoline, battery acid, transmission fluid and motor oil among others. This experiment confirmed my hypothesis that filtering the water does not purify it or improves its quality.

Discussion 2

 The household filtering process was a success, and this proved my hypothesis right. The use of cheesecloth in filtering the water was effective as shown in the visibility, smell and color of the filtered water compared to the contaminated water.

The results show a big difference between treated and contaminated water. The contaminated water is dark colored and with a thick consistency and strong smell of soil. The specimen of treated water has a faint smell of bleach and with slight yellow tint. Before it was treated it had a pungent smell, and it now appears free of debris.

Experiment 3

Dasani has fewer contaminates of all the three specimens. Fiji was at the middle level of contamination while tap water has a high level of contamination (Berg, 2008). Dasani had a high level of chloride amounts (Didier, n.d.), and this does not support my hypothesis.


This experiment tests how different contaminants affect ground water by both micro and macro pollutants. The results from the experiment indicated that when vinegar is filtered through dirty water, the water became clean. This finding was interesting because I did not expect that any used contaminant would be eliminated when vinegar was placed on water. I thought that the only way to have clean water was through filtering so as to have clean water. This experiment indicates that it is possible to find alternative and much cleaner choices of purifying and filtering water. Tests such as 4 in 1, iron, phosphate and chloride tests are successful for home filtration. It is recommended that other numerical methods of tests have to be done to compare the pH; phosphate, iron, and chlorine level of bottled and tap water.


Osborn, S. Vengosh, A Warner, N, & Jackson, R (2011) Methane contaminates drinking water due to drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Academy of Sciences, 108, 8172-8176

Renner, R. (2009). Out of Plumb. Environmental Health Perspectives. 117(12),

Berg, R. (2008) Drugs in the drinking water briefings in fiery hearing, Senators urge U.S. EPA to shift its paradigm. Environmental Health Journal. 71(1), 66-68.

EPA (2006) to Revise Rule for Lead in Drinking Water. Professional Safety, 51(9), 75.

Didier, S. (n.d.). Water Bottle Pollution Facts. SF Gate, Retrieved from http://homeguides.sfgate.com/water-bottle-pollution-79179.html.

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