Water Monitoring With Students of Al Muslim’s Junior High School by Curtis Deschambault

Today, I visited Al Muslim’s junior high school with Ronnie, Bram and Harshid. The junior high school is located in front of their elementary school. I gave a presentation on the water monitoring kit explaining how the difference tests affect the water and its environment. The presentation was in front of about 15 students from the 7th and 8th grades. A few of the grade nine students listened for a little while but than they had to go a test. Harshid gave a brief presentation on reforestation and its importance with respect to the environment.

After my presentation, we all went to do some monitoring test at 5 different locations. We choose to three test locations away from the school, two of the tests were conducted in ditches near factories. The third test area was a ditch underneath a highway out of Surabaya. The students measured the turbidity, water temperature, pH level and the amount of dissolved oxygen at each of the location. We than came back to the school and tested the water in two of the ponds beside it. We tried to get each of the students to try and do one of the tests so that they all got to participate. The results we received were similar for all the locations with only the water temperatures and the pH levels varying. The pH varied between 7 and 8 and the temperature varied between 26 and 30 Celsius.

Once we completed the test the students, Bram, and I had a discussion about the results we obtained. I told the students that by observing only the results it would appear that this was clean water and asked what they thought about that. They told me that the water was not clean and that maybe other test would need to be done to see if the water was clean.  Which  brought me to an important fact about the water monitoring kit, the kit we used does not indicate if the water is safe for humans, but indicates if it would suitable for aquatic life forms. The kit also does not take into consideration the amount of bacteria in the water nor any other harmful chemicals like mercury, iodine etc. I told the students that it is useful to keep their results and test the same water spots again in a couple months to see if any of the values change. If the values change than it would indicate that perhaps something is happening to the water way that needs to be further investigated.

Changes to results would indicate a problem, for example is the turbidity and temperature increases in one of the water ways, perhaps there were tree cut down further up the stream, which would have provided shade and keep the water cooler. Also because the trees were cut down the coil is not held by anything and may start to erode making the water more turbid. Many things are interlinked and when a problem arises it affects more than just one thing. There a many things that can effect the water ways and on small act can often have larger implications further down the rode. Here are a few things that decrease the pH level of water ways (make it more acidic), acidic rain, waste water from the bathroom and kitchen, water runoff from the mines, and fertilizer runoff. These are few things that not only affect the pH levels but might have other impacts on the ecosystem. This is why it is important to understand how little acts may not be so little in the end.