Water and Health

Module 5 Lesson 3

LESSON 3: WATER QUALITY AND PUBLIC HEALTH OVERVIEW:
The purpose of this lesson is to explore how water quality affects human health. The importance of this issue has led to the separation of drinking water from wastewater in most developed countries. When potable water is not separated from other types of water, the risk of disease and infection from microorganisms and toxic chemicals increases. Students will learn about common contaminants found in untreated water and explore ways that the water can be made potable. Students will participate in an activity to create a water filter prototype and test its effectiveness.

SUB-QUESTION:
What is the simplest way to provide potable water to the most people?

WAYS OF KNOWING URBAN ECOLOGY:
Understand Talk Do Act
Students will… • Understand the relationships between water quality and human health. No specific goals connected with talking urban ecology in this lesson. • Model methods by which water can be purified. • Select appropriate materials to design a water filter. • Evaluate the effectiveness of their model water filters. No specific goals connected with acting on urban ecology in this lesson.

SAFETY GUIDELINES
While the overall outcome of this lesson is to produce potable water, the water samples produced should not be drunk. Chemicals are used in the lab portion of this lesson. Please review the following pointers when conducting water quality tests. • Read all Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) before using the test kits. If any chemical comes in contact with a person’s skin you will need to be prepared to flush that skin with clean water for 15 minutes. • Whenever possible, conduct chemical tests in an indoor space with appropriate eyewash equipment. • Many of the tests can be conducted within the lid of the kits. This will allow for better control of possible spills. • Caution students to keep all chemicals (and sample water) away from their faces. Students should NEVER directly smell chemicals. • Students must wear gloves and goggles at all times to protect themselves from the chemicals used in the tests. • Wipe all liquid and powder spills as soon as they occur. (Always wipe liquid and powder off of tubes and bottles before shaking them.)

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When shaking and mixing test tubes, be sure to use plastic caps. Do not use fingers to cover test tubes. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after conducting tests.

PREPARATION:
Time: Three 45-minute class periods Materials: Day 1: Activity 3.1 PowerPoint and projector (or overheads of slides and projector) Activity 3.2 (Optional) One computer with internet access for each student group Day 2: Activity 3.3 “contaminated” water samples (100 ml per design team) “contaminated” water can either be attained through storm drains, rivers, lakes, etc. or can be made in the classroom. The recipe for “contaminated” water can be made by combining 2L rainwater with ¾-1 cup of dirt, ¾-1 cup sand, and ¾-1 cup plant fertilizer and stir very well. Water Quality test kits Student Handout: Water Quality Test Results Activity 3.4 Student Handout: Water Filter Design Plan Activity 3.5 Filter materials (per design team) • One mortar and pestle • One plastic pipette • 250 ml graduated cylinder • 250 ml of coarse sand • 250 ml of fine sand • 250 ml of activated charcoal • 250 ml of “contaminated” water (see note) • 1 foot of one inch PVC pipe • 1 sq foot of cheesecloth • 2 small coffee filters • 3 rubber bands 2

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1 sq. foot of nylon netting 2 large cotton balls 2 iodine tablets or drops 1 funnel 1 storage container

“contaminated” water samples (100 ml per design team) Water Quality test kits Day 3: Activity 3.6 Water Quality test kits Student Handout: Water Quality Test Results PowerPoint and projector (or overheads of slides and projector)

INSTRUCTIONAL SEQUENCE
Activity 3.1: PowerPoint presentation about water quality 1. Inform your students that they will be looking at water quality in more detail. 2. Present the first part of the power point presentation (slides 1-8). Talking points and questions have been suggested in the notes associated with each slide, as well as connections with the Ecosystem Services Model. The presentation should provide students with information to understand and compare water treatment in developed and developing countries. Students will also review the four top water contaminants that affect human health. Activity 3.2: Water quality WebQuest (Optional) 1. Follow the Teacher Guide for the Peace Corps WebQuest “Water, Sanitation & Health,” an inquiry project which looks at issues of water quality and public health in the developing and rapidly urbanizing continent of Africa. The Teacher Guide can be found at: http://www.peacecorps.gov/wws/educators/lessonplans/lesson.cfm?lpid=2563 2. In a wrap-up discussion, ask your students how what they learned through the WebQuest connected to the Ecosystem Services Model. You may distribute the Ecosystems Services Model diagram to remind your students of the different parts of the model. Activity 3.3: Students test contaminated water 1. Let your students know that they will now be creating a model of an effective water filter. 2. Divide the class into teams of 2 or 3 students per team. 3. Explain to the teams that each team will be responsible for designing an effective water filter, which will be measured by a range of water quality tests. These tests

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will show how effective the filter is against some of the most common water contaminants. Students may need a review of how to conduct the tests if they have not conducted them before. 4. The students need to run a series of water quality pre-tests on the contaminated water in order to establish a baseline. All students will be using the same water so depending on the time limitations of your classroom you can have each team conduct one test and then share their results with the rest of the class, or have each team conduct all of the tests. Please note that the coliform bacteria test requires a minimum of 24 hour period so this test must be conducted on the first day but the results will not be ready for assessment until the next day. 5. Each team should record all of the results on the student worksheet. Activity 3.4: Students design water filter 1. Review the Filter Design Rules (slide 9) and distribute Worksheets to each team. Each team should start sketching out their filter plans. Pages 2 and 3 of the student worksheet summarize the key points about water contaminants and water treatment described in the PowerPoint that students can refer to as they create their design. Activity 3.5: Students build water filter 1. When each team has a general sketch, give the team its filter materials. They then have the rest of the class period to build their filter. As they make changes to their original design, it should be documented on their worksheet. 2. Provide access to the water quality testing kits for students to use throughout their design process. Students should be encouraged to test their water sample as they progress in order to obtain data that may help them adjust their design. NOTE: Each team needs to produce enough water to conduct a coliform test by the end of the design class period as this test needs to sit overnight. If time permits and if there is a need, this activity can be conducted over two class periods. Activity 3.6: Students test water 1. The first part of this period should be used for each team to conduct the range of water quality tests on their filter’s water. By the end of this process, each team should have a completed the Water Quality Test Results Worksheet. 2. When all of the teams have completed their tests, compile the results on a larger classroom chart so that the class can compare their results (PowerPoint Slide #12). 3. Ask the class which of the filters were most effective at cleaning the contaminated water. This should be determined by the purest water sample, that had the least amount of phosphates, nitrates, coliform and turbidity (clearest) as well as a pH reading closest to neutral.

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4. Have the team(s) with the most effective filters share their filter design. As a class, develop a list of characteristics of a great water filter and write these characteristics on the board.

Concluding the Lesson 1. The second to last slide on the PowerPoint has information about both common treatments that are used both in developing countries as well as by hikers and campers that drink water from streams, etc. This information is in a chart based on the effectiveness on five different treatments. More information about these treatments is on the student handout Water Treatment 411 (Worksheet 2.1.b) 2. The last slide on the PowerPoint shows some of the more innovative ways that engineers and development specialists are coming up with ways to decontaminate water. A large development agency, like the United Nations and USAID (United States Agency for International Development) is placed in the position to decide which way (both the common and the innovative) is the best choice to use in a range of countries and situations. A question that can be discussed in class or addressed in a writing exercise could be: If you were in charge of selecting a specific water treatment process, what are the top considerations you would take into account in making your decision?

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Water and Health Name: __________________________ Date: _______

Module 5 Lesson 3 Class/Period:________

Water Filter Design Plan Filter Design Rules 1. Your team must come up with a team name 2. Your team’s filter must produce a minimum of 200 ml of “potable” water 3. You must design, construct and produce the final quantity of water in the time limit of 2 classes 4. Your team must supply a detailed, labeled drawing of your filter 5. Your team may use some or all of the materials given, but cannot use anything not listed or any additional materials. 6. The water sample can be passed through the team’s filter as many times as the team chooses. Filter Material List • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • One mortar and pestle One plastic pipette 250 ml graduated cylinder 250 ml of coarse sand 250 ml of fine sand 250 ml of activated charcoal 250 ml of “contaminated” water 1 foot of one inch PVC pipe 1 sq. foot of cheesecloth 2 small coffee filters 3 rubber bands 1 sq. foot of nylon netting 2 large cotton balls 2 iodine tablets or drops 1 funnel 1 storage container

Water Tests • Temperature (° Celsius) • Turbidity • pH • Dissolved O2 • Nitrates • Phosphates • Coliform Bacteria • Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)

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Water Treatment 411 Potable water is water that is fit for human consumption, also known as drinking water. Water, in its purest form, is naturally potable, but most likely the water that we have access to requires a multi-step water treatment to be considered safe for drinking. Wherever the source of the water is, the safety of water is decided by a series of tests that look for contamination. Your team has been given the task of learning all that you can about the treatment of water in an effort to produce drinkable water by creating a point-of-use (POU) water treatment method. In order to be successful, use this Brief as a primary source of information about water contaminants and some of the most common water treatments. Examples of Water Contaminants Bacteria Bacteria are small organisms that can cause an infection that can feel like food poisoning. E.coli and salmonella are two common bacteria found in contaminated water throughout the world. Vibrio cholerae, the bacteria that can cause cholera, is also found in some developing countries.

Protozoan Cysts

Protozoa found in water are single-celled parasites that are in its’ cystic form (meaning a parasite is in a form that can survive outside of its’ host’s body). The most common protozoan parasite found in water is Giardia, which causes an infection in the small intestine. Amoebas are other protozoa that can cause havoc, leading to amoebic dysentery. Another common protozoan is Cryptosporidium. Chemicals can come from any run-off, whether from an industrial source or from fertilizer that people are using on their crops. The most common contaminants include pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer (phosphates and nitrates) and the occasional heavy metal. Aside from the direct contamination of these chemicals, phosphates and nitrates can also create the right environment for toxic bacteria to grow in the form of algal blooms.

Chemicals/Toxins

Particulates

Particulates are any solid object that is found in the water that cannot be dissolved in water. This could be a large item like little pieces of leaves, roots, and pebbles and could be smaller items like silt and sediment, heavy metals, etc. Particulates in water can be benign and only make the drinking process unpleasant, or can actually be objects that should not be ingested by humans and can cause health issues over time.

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Common Water Treatments Boiling

This is the best, and easiest, method to use. Boiling will neutralize most bacteria and protozoan cysts. The water needs to be at a full boil for 4-5 minutes to be effective. Boiling does not treat particulates, heavy metals and some chemicals and toxins. Boiling can be ineffective if the person who is in charge of the process does not have a way of keeping time, a commonplace issue in developing countries. This process should be followed by filtering to remove larger particulates from the water. Chlorine (bleach) will kill bacteria and most times will treat protozoan cysts. It is not 100% foolproof in treating Giardia and Amoebas. Most people complain about the taste of adding chlorine to their drinking water, which can sometimes deter people from using this method or for not using a sufficient amount of chlorine in the process.

Chlorine (halogen)

Iodine (halogen)

Iodine functions in the same manner as chlorine, but has the reputation of having a better taste than the chlorine. There have been questions about its safety on the long-term use of iodine, but it is fine for short-term usage. Iodine cannot be used by people who suffer from thyroid issues or pregnant women. Iodine comes in tablet form or in liquid form. Ultraviolet (UV) light destroys the DNA of bacteria, viruses and protozoa. UV light can be used naturally, by the sun, or through special UV light bulbs. To use the sun, the contaminated water is placed in a transparent bottle and oxygenated by shaking up the bottle. The bottle is then placed in the hot sun for a minimum of six hours, raising the temperature and exposing the water to UV light rays. Water can be exposed directly to UV light bulbs for a treatment as well. This process requires the water to be filtered for particulates before being used. This method uses the sun as well, but in this treatment, the sun’s heat is used to evaporate the water and there is a contraption set up to capture the condensation. The water condensate is pure water and removes all bacteria and particulates.

Solar and Ultraviolet Purification

Solar Distillation

Filtration

Filters work by physically removing contaminates from the water. A simple filter can work like a coffee filter, removing solids from a liquid. More advanced filters can remove microscopic objects, including bacteria and protozoan cysts. A filter works only as good as the extent of the physical size of the actual filter material. Filters can also be treated with chemicals, like iodine that allows for multiple forms of disinfection to take place. Larger filters usually contain sand, gravel and active carbon in different grades, or sizes. Smaller filters, such as the filters used in many homes in the United States, have activated carbon, which is very porous and can absorb chemicals in the water.
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Water Filter Design Plan Team:____________

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Name: _________________________________

Date: _________

Class/Period:________

Water Quality Test Results Directions 1. In the table below, record the results from your analysis of the contaminated water. 2. After you design and use your water filter, you will test the quality of the water again to determine the effectiveness of your filter.

Test
Temperature (Celsius°)

Water Test Results Pre-Filtering Results Post-Filtering Results

Turbidity

pH

Dissolved O2 BOD Biochemical Oxygen Demand

Nitrates

Phosphates Coliform Bacteria 24 hour testing time

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