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Water Quality and Contamination Experiment Report

Abstract

In the contemporary world, industrialization has led to continuous water contamination. Ideally, companies related to water safety should offer a solution to water contamination where distillation is inevitable. The research used various water testing methods. For instance, the pH levels of bottled and tap water ware tested using effective methods such as filtration and water treatment. Thereafter, the observations were recorded. Concerning the results, the research established that bottled water contained fewer mineral components compared to mineral water. Also, bottled water had lower levels of pH unlike tap water. This paper seeks to provide a detailed report on what should be done to ensure quality water for human consumption.

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Introduction

Water safety is paramount for the health of human beings. Therefore, it is a primary concern worldwide. Quality water research is critical because it will assist in finding suitable methods for treating contaminated water. This, therefore, will lead to water which is safe for human consumption. The main objective of the study will be to examine water treatment processes to achieve quality water which is free from contamination. Due to various factors such as the development of residential areas near water catchment areas and industrial pollution of water sources, water has been seen to be highly contaminated (Kostyla, Bain, Cronk & Bartram, 2015).

This has led to the development of companies in an effort to provide purified water for consumption purpose. Several properties determine the quality of water. Notably, color, hardness, dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity, suspended sediment and turbidity are some of the properties. Contamination and pollution of water are caused by factors like bacteria in water, acid rain, pesticides, sewage overflows, and phosphorous among others. Water quality is very important as it has a number of purposes. First, it is an essential need and it highly determines public health. Therefore, to protect public health, we must ensure that people consume clean quality water. Quality water is also essential because it is an ecosystem habitat and is used in our day-to-day activities.

The contamination of water catchment areas has limited the access to clean and safe drinking water (Goncharuk, 2014). Consequently, there has been a rise in the number of bottled water companies that offer an alternative source of clean water. The companies apply various methods such as distillation and filtration to produce sufficient quantities of water. The methods are capital intensive thus consumers have to purchase the water they need. Therefore, it becomes necessary to carry out detailed experiments on the bottled and tap water that is made available to consumers to establish whether it is worthwhile to purchase bottled water.

According to Waite (2012), an analysis of the water produced by bottling companies as well as tap water, revealed some differences in their mineral composition. While water contains some essential minerals, it may be noted that contamination may occur as water is being stored or transported through pipes from their source to consumers’ houses. Therefore, treatment at a water collection point does not always guarantee that the water is safe for domestic use. Bottled water, on the other hand, is treated, packed, and distributed under hygienic conditions that are usually set and regulated by federal or state agencies to ensure its safety. Therefore, an experiment to test the differences between tap water and bottled water can reveal the differences that exist between the two, thus helping to establish whether it is worth to pay for bottled water as is the case with bottled water.

Some actions can be taken to help improve water quality. Foremost, one of these actions includes investing in places that are known to be water catchment areas to prevent issues like settlement along the catchment areas and fight industrial pollution into water sources like rivers, lakes, and oceans. Regulations on activities that can be carried out in water sources to avoid some of the daily activities that may cause possible pollution to water sources should be set. This can be achieved by having an environmental monitoring program to make follow-ups on current and upcoming causes of pollution of natural water. Construction of healthy waterways is important to avoid contamination of tap water which mainly happens during distribution due to issues like pipe rusting, sewage breakage near water transporting pipes and chemicals like lead from metal pipes.

Conversely, water is termed safe for consumption if all harmful contaminants such as metals, fluoride, and chlorine are cleaned off. Safe drinking water should also have an alkaline pH balanced value. Besides, it should have natural minerals, which are essential for the growth of healthy bones and teeth. The taste of water also matters when it comes to consumption. Drinking water should have a natural spring water taste. Water bottling companies have been established aiming to provide safe drinking water. These companies use filtration method and other treatment measures to eliminate harmful microorganisms in water. The companies apply various methods such as distillation and filtration to produce sufficient quantities of water. The methods are capital intensive thus consumers have to purchase the water they need.

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It is also seen to be distributed in hygienic conditions ensuring that there is no further contamination after packaging of the purified water. Since untreated tap water poses several risks, many people have turned to the usage of bottled water. On the contrary, there is an existing controversy on bottled water where some people feel that not all water-bottling companies provide safe drinking water. There is also tap water, which is treated at a collection point before being distributed for consumption. There is therefore the need to analyze water from bottling companies in comparison to that of tap water. Therefore, the experiment seeks to identify whether processed and bottled water is healthier for consumption and whether it is worth paying the price for it. In my opinion, bottled water is safer for consumption compared to tap water.

Materials and Methods

Initially, the experiment involved testing the pH levels of bottled water and tap water. Samples from two bottled water companies, Dasani and Fiji, and tap water were used. The samples were used to rinse three test tubes while avoiding direct hand-water contact because bare hands could contaminate the water. 5ml of each sample were also added to each test tube after which the drops of indicator solution were added. The observations were made and recorded. For the testing of nitrate, acid reagents and nitrate nitrogen comparators were used. Similar tests were carried out to establish the levels of ammonia, chloride, phosphate, iron, chlorine, and hardness.

For pH testing, the following materials were used: test tubes, sample water (Dasani and Fuji), a beaker to hold tap water, a dropper for the indicator solution, indicator solution, color chart and a 3,10milliliter graduated cylinder.

The procedure for pH testing of water was as follows: we cleaned all the equipment to ensure there were no residual impurities from previous experiments; we filled up the beaker with tap water avoiding any possible hand-water contact, different samples of water were used to rinse the test tubes, one sample for each test tube,10ml-graduated cylinders were used to measure up to 5ml of each sample, pouring each sample to each test tube, using the dropper; we added 2-3 drops of indicator solution to each of the three samples in the test tubes; using color charts we compared any changes that occurred in the samples; observations were then made and recorded.

To test for nitrates, the following equipment was needed: test tubes, 50ml graduated beaker, sample water (Dasani, Fiji, and tap water), mixed acid reagents, nitrogen nitrate comparators, and 3,10ml graduated cylinder.

The procedure for this experiment was as follows: we rinsed each test tube with the sample water for each, using the 10ml-graduated cylinder; we filled up to 2.5 ml of the sample water and poured it into their respective test tubes; we then added 2.5 ml of the mixed acid reagent to the sample water in the test tubes, each test tube was then inserted into the nitrogen nitrate comparator; we matched the colors, the sample color to the standard color and recorded our observations.

The same procedure for nitrate testing was used to test for levels of ammonia, chloride, phosphate, iron, chlorine, and hardness of the sample water.

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Results

Tap and Bottled Water: Comparisons of PH-Levels

(Alkalinewaterplus, 2017).

According to the experiments, it was established that bottled water contained few impurities in its mineral composition. The pH levels were also lower in bottled water compared to tap water, thus indicating that water filtration and other procedures used in water bottling were effective in eliminating harmful substances.

From the chart, it is evident that Dasani water has a low pH of 4.5 thus it is acidic and unhealthy for human consumption compared to the Fiji brand which has a pH of 7.5, implying that it is alkaline and healthy for human consumption.

However, other factors were not taken into consideration when conducting these experiments. For instance, for the test of water pH levels there are factors like the temperature of the sample water. The pH of pure water is known to decrease with the increasing temperature.

Conventionally, the experiment focused on identifying the presence of various chemicals in the water. However, it would be necessary to establish the extent to which the chemicals affect normal body functions in humans when ingested in varying quantities (Goncharuk, 2014). Therefore, the future experiment will focus on the ratio of contaminants in water in a given sample and seek the implications of such ratios. The idea is based on the fact that some mineral components were observed to have varying concentrations in the three water samples. For example, high levels of chlorine are regarded as detrimental to bones and other body functions. Therefore, it would be necessary to establish the sample that had the right amount of chlorine and other components. Also, the experiment will utilize different testing techniques to get results that reflect a clearer analysis of the samples to be tested.

Discussion

From the results of the experiment, bottled water is best for consumption compared to tap water. This is because the measures established by water bottling companies were regarded as useful in the control of waterborne diseases. For example, high levels of chlorine were recorded in the two brands of bottled water, thus implying that the chemical is heavily used in water treatment and bottling plants (Ware, 2012). Therefore, bottled water presents antimicrobial benefits helping to prevent the prevalence of waterborne ailments.

On the other hand, rain water does not contain any impurities, it eventually gets contaminated upon hitting the ground due to the presence of contaminants that exist either in the soil or water bodies (Goncharuk, 2014). As such, it is evident that the processes involved in water bottling are useful in eliminating harmful contaminants and softening it for human consumption. I would accept the hypothesis because the experiment clearly showed that bottled water was safe for human consumption as well as controlling waterborne diseases. The implication of these results would benefit the whole world population because they would embrace bottled water because of its advantages compared to tap water.

Notably, the quality of bottled water varies from one company to another. For instance, the level of contaminants including minerals in various brands of bottled water varies depending on a company’s source of raw water and the steps utilized in purifying it. The bottled water industry has experienced tremendous growth in the past few years due to the increasing awareness of the need to consume safe water. The introduction of flavored mineral water has also created a niche for bottling companies through which they can attract and retain more customers and subsequently raising the demand for their products.

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Despite the rising demand for bottled water, however, concerns have been raised over the safety of water that is packed in plastic containers. Plastics are believed to release carcinogenic elements especially when subjected to high temperatures in enclosed places such as the inside of a vehicle. Although studies are yet to establish a clear standpoint regarding the same, it is necessary for consumers to take precautionary measures to avoid implications which include the growth of cancer cells due to the accumulation of carcinogenic residues in the body.

Conclusion

Bottled water consumption fosters a greater significance as opposed to consuming tap water. The purification processes utilized in bottling plants are designed to ensure that the water retains as many natural components as possible. Therefore, it is advisable for consumers to prefer bottled water to tap water, which could contain impurities from the soil. Consequently, it is evident that purchasing bottled water is beneficial to an individual’s wellness. Our contemporary society should be well informed about water safety because the consumption of contaminated water can lead to health problems.

Water cleaning companies should also strive to invent better techniques to ensure water is safe for human consumption. However, it is worth noting that different brands of bottled water have varying pH levels, thus creating the need for consumers to choose brands with a pH value of seven and above as these brands are alkaline and safe for consumption. Although tap water contains only a few chemicals such as chlorine to kill the germs, opting for high-pH bottled water could be safer as the water is packed and retailed in clean packages.

References

Alkalinewaterplus. (2017). Analyzing & comparing brands of bottled water.

Goncharuk, V. V. (2014). Drinking water: Physics, chemistry, and biology

Kostyla, C., Bain, R., Cronk, R., & Bartram, J. (2015). Seasonal variation of fecal contamination in drinking water sources in developing countries: A systematic review. Science of the Total Environment, 514, 333-343.

Waite, T. D. (2012). Principles of water quality. Oxford, UK: Elsevier Science.

Ware, G. W. (2012). Reviews of environmental contamination and toxicology: Continuation of residue reviews. New York, NY: Springer New York.

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