Canada- Water and People

Environment   Nov 11, 2017 by Rebecca Jin
  • What challenges did you over come?
  • Which techniques would you recommend to your colleagues?
  • How can what you discovered in this process be applied to industry?

I read the water filtration sheet provided and decided to use sand, powdered charcoal, rocks, cloth, cotton balls and coffee filters. First, I filtered water with individual filtering items then combinations. The container I used as a filter system is plastic pop bottle body and its mouth separately, I held the purified water with my spray bottle for the plants so I don’t waste them. I started with sand and gravel, wrapped it in a filtering pocket (it’s made out of filtered cloth but in pocket form), using the funnel side of the bottle, poured mixtures of fish tank water and mud water. The resulting water was clearer but not to the point we can drink it, so I did a second trial. This time, I used a completely different method. I switched from the funnel side of the bottle to the body, used a nail and a hammer to drill a hole at the bottom, stuck a thin wooden skewer stick in there so the purified water would be conducted to the spray bottle with the stick. I then poured filthy water to the gravel and sand on the coffee filter  (a lesson I learned is to shake the gravel after you put it in so there is less space between gravels, therefore, better filtration), and the resulting filtered water was quite clear. Though thinking it could be better I added some charcoal to sand and gravel, wrapped them with filtering pockets and decided to use the funnel side again due to time. The results were no distinct difference than the first time. Satisfied with my results, I decided to move on to using cotton balls and filter pocket with the funnel, it didn't work well since the water was cloudy. A connection I made to real life is that, when we water our plants, sometimes the excess water comes out of the hole at the bottom of our pot, maybe if I experimented with some contaminated water, and add filter paper at the bottom, we could test the ability of soil to filtrate water? For this task, I certainly went through trial and errors. I would recommend using sand and gravel with the stick conductor system to filter water. I wouldn’t recommend cotton balls because it’s not as effective and certainly not reusable.

I have done some research on this and found out a very effective way to purify the water yet not using distillation which loses minerals through the process. According to my research, the smallest virus, the Poliovirus, is about 25 nanometers, so to completely trap these viruses that are in the water, we need to make the filtration pores a lot smaller than 25 nanometers. I discovered that Michael Pritchard (not the comedian) who created the Lifesaver water bottle, has 15-nanometer holes in the filtration system, in a water bottle, which is truly amazing.

In addition, I have learned through this experience that how long it takes for water to cycle in the ecosystem then through the filtration process. I was only filtrating a few small pails of water and I ran out of time to do more, in fact, I chose to do this on a long weekend because it was so time-consuming. It also takes lots of energy to filter clean, drinking water.


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1 Comment(s)

Amanda To
Nov 16, 2017

Hi! I was reading your comment on my post, and wanted to read yours so I went hunting for it. I find it really interesting that the water filtered better when it was shaken up. Do you know why that is? I was also wondering how much of each material you used and what size of gravel you think worked best. I can't wait to read more!

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