Jarren Santos - pHew! That's a Relief: Assessing Drinking Water Quality and Treatment of Water Supply

Abstract

Safe drinking water is a right that should be guaranteed to all populations. In the United States, we know that many urban areas have the ability to obtain safe drinking water, but can rural communities similarly do so? If there is limited access, can technologies, such as point-of-use devices, temporarily improve water quality? With this in mind, we designed an experiment to test water quality of locations of close vicinity around a Midwestern liberal arts institution. Two variables of interest were location of water supply and filtration on how they affect drinking water quality. Using the pH level as a measure for water quality, we found a significant difference in pH level of drinking water between the institution’s facilities and the surrounding residential area. We found that using a BRITA Standard Filter significantly decreases the pH level of water. This effect, however, depends on the locations from where water was sampled. Although the results indicate a significant effect of these factors, it is important to note that the pH level for all samples are between 6.5 to 8.5, which is the recommended range for safe drinking water.