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The relationship between macroinvertebrates, water quality, and the health of Stevens Creek

Li et al. | Aug 18, 2021

The relationship between macroinvertebrates, water quality, and the health of Stevens Creek

Stevens Creek, which flows through Santa Clara County in California, provides a crucial habitat for federally designated threatened steelhead trout, with a portion of the trout’s diet being dependent on the presence and abundance of macroinvertebrates that inhabit the creek. In this article, the authors investigate how the water chemistry within the creek was associated with the abundance and diversity of macroinvertebrates, and subsequently the creek’s health. They conduct qualitative analysis of macroinvertebrates and water quality to obtain a general understanding of the health of Stevens Creek.

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Effect of Fertilizer on Water Quality of Creeks over Time

Chen et al. | May 02, 2021

Effect of Fertilizer on Water Quality of Creeks over Time

Fertilizers are commonly used to improve agricultural yield. Unfortunately, chemical fertilizers can seep into drinking water, potentially harming humans and other forms of life. Here, the authors investigate the effect of fertilizer on the water quality of Saratoga Creek over time. They find that fertilizers can alter the acidity of the creek's water, which can be harmful to aquatic species, as well as increase the levels of nitrates temporarily.

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How has California’s Shelter-in-Place Order due to COVID-19 and the Resulting Reduction in Human Activity Affected Air and Water Quality?

Everitt et al. | Feb 15, 2021

How has California’s Shelter-in-Place Order due to COVID-19 and the Resulting Reduction in Human Activity Affected Air and Water Quality?

As the world struggled to grapple with the emerging COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many countries instated policies to help minimize the spread of the virus among residents. This inadvertently led to a decrease in travel, and in some cases, industrial output, two major sources of pollutants in today's world. Here, the authors investigate whether California's shelter-in-place policy was associated with a measurable decrease in water and air pollution in that state between June and July of 2020, compared to the preceeding five years. Their findings suggest that, by some metrics, air quality improved within certain areas while water quality was relatively unchanged. Overall, these findings suggest that changing human behavior can, indeed, help reduce the level of air pollutants that compromise air quality.

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The Effects of Barley Straw (Hordeum vulgare) Extract and Barley Straw Pellets on Algal Growth and Water Quality

McHargue et al. | Oct 06, 2020

The Effects of Barley Straw (Hordeum vulgare) Extract and Barley Straw Pellets on Algal Growth and Water Quality

Algal overgrowth often threatens to clog irrigation pipes and drinking water lines when left unchecked, as well as releasing possible toxins that threaten plant and human health. It is thus important to find natural, non-harmful agents that can decrease algal growth without threatening the health of plants and humans. In this paper, the authors test the efficacy of barely extract in either liquid or pellet form in decreasing algal growth. While their results were inconclusive, the experimental set-up allows them to investigate a wider range of agents as anti-algal treatments that could potentially be adopted on a wider scale.

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The effect of floating plant on water purification: Comparison of the water purification capability of Water Hyacinth, Duckweed, and Azolla

Park et al. | Nov 21, 2020

The effect of floating plant on water purification: Comparison of the water purification capability of Water Hyacinth, Duckweed, and Azolla

Clean water is a necessity for every household, yet water pollution is a serious problem in many parts of the world and plays a major role in compromising water security in the 21st century. In this paper, the authors address the utility of several plants as natural water purifiers. They estimate the effectiveness of duckweed, hyacinth, and azolla in improving the quality of water from the Mithi river in India by measuring several metrics. They conclude that all three plants are effective in improving water quality, suggesting that these plants as eco-friendly options for water treatment.

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Access to public parks, drinking fountains, and clean public drinking water in the Bay Area is not driven by income

Zaroff et al. | Jul 15, 2021

Access to public parks, drinking fountains, and clean public drinking water in the Bay Area is not driven by income

Access to green space—an area of grass, trees, or other vegetation set apart for recreational or aesthetic purposes in an urban environment—and clean drinking water can be unequally distributed in urban spaces, which are often associated with income inequality. Little is known about public drinking water and green space inequities in the Bay Area. For our study, we sought to understand how public park access, drinking fountain access, and the quality of public drinking water differ across income brackets in the Bay Area. Though we observed smaller-scale instances of inequalities, in the park distribution in the Bay Area as a whole, and in the Southern Bay’s water quality and park distribution, our results indicate that other factors could be influencing water quality, and park and fountain access in the Bay Area.

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Heavy Metal Contamination of Hand-Pressed Well Water in HuNan, China

Long et al. | Oct 20, 2019

Heavy Metal Contamination of Hand-Pressed Well Water in HuNan, China

Unprocessed water from hand-pressed wells is still commonly used as a source of drinking water in Chenzhou, the “Nonferrous Metal Village” of China. Long et al. conducted a study to measure the heavy metal contamination levels and potential health effects in this area. Water samples were analyzed through Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICPOES) and the concentrations of 20 metal elements. Results showed that although none of the samples had dangerous levels of heavy metals, the concentrations of Al, Fe, and Mn in many locations substantially exceeded those suggested in the Chinese Drinking Water Standard and the maximum contaminant levels of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The authors have made an important discovery regarding the water safety in HuNan and their suggestions to install water treatment systems would greatly benefit the community.

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Harvesting Atmospheric Water

Greenwald et al. | Jul 10, 2020

Harvesting Atmospheric Water

The objective of this project was to test various materials to determine which ones collect the most atmospheric water when exposed to the same environmental factors. The experiment observed the effect of weather conditions, a material’s surface area and hydrophilicity on atmospheric water collection. The initial hypothesis was that hydrophobic materials with the greatest surface area would collect the most water. The materials were placed in the same outside location each night for twelve trials. The following day, the materials were weighed to see how much water each had collected. On average, ribbed plastic collected 10.8 mL of water per trial, which was over 20% more than any other material. This result partially supported the hypothesis because although hydrophobic materials collected more water, surface area did not have a significant effect on water collection.

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