Grand Award

2nd Place


Earth and Environmental Sciences
Itzel Bustos

Alfred Santos

"1. Tell us about your research project and what made you choose this project. - Clean and potable water is a very essential part of our daily lives. My project focused on way on improving Water Potability of the Drinking Fountains in my community which is San Luis AZ. Recently, the water management released a notice saying that the water in San Luis has been contaminated. This project improved water potability through a process called adsorption. When the unprocessed water samples are poured into the engineered filters, the molecules from those chemical contaminants, adhere onto the surface of the citrus peel and/or the moringa seed powder. This research also investigates which citrus peel or moringa seed made a greater effect on the improvement of water quality. 2. Explain how you ran the tests? How many times did you repeat your tests? - The experiment tested water from water fountains from distinct locations in San Luis, AZ, by filtering each water sample with 4 different powders. The powders consisted of lemon peel, orange peel, moringa seed, and mixed powders. Therefore, to test the effectiveness of the powders; water samples were gathered from 5 different locations. Furthermore, I observed a total of 16 parameters. 3. Were you surprised by your results/conclusion of your project? Why/why not? - Yes, I was surprised by the results of the experiment because when I researched other ways to purify water, many water treatments were done using citrus peels but few with moringa seeds. The results from my experiment contributes to research already done with moringa seeds becoming a new low-cost-effective water purifier. 4. If you were going to do it all over again, would you change your test/project? How and why? - If I started the experiment all over again, I would consider using tomato and apple peels because they are adsorbent which means they could capture ions and other pollutants. According to studies, tomatoes peels must be first treated with a chemical compound to then proceed with the filtration process as in my experiment. 5. Why/How are your findings important? - My findings are vital to developing countries like Ethiopia, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, that lack the access to potable water. For example, an average of 80% of diseases are related to poor water sanitation and this happens when the government does not have the resources to treat water. My investigations demonstrate a cost-effective alternative to expensive water treatments. 6. What was the most challenging component of your experiment? - The most challenging component of the experiment was finding water fountains in the most frequented places like parks, aquatic centers, and fast-food restaurants. The water samples were gathered from two public schools, two grocery markets, and a multi-service business where people frequent when entering through the border. 7. Did you try anything that did not work or did not give you expected results? If so, what did you learn from this? - In this experiment, the usage of grapefruit peels was the initial idea for the removal of pollutants, along with lemon and orange peels. However, grapefruit peels were thick enough to stop the function of the coffee grinder. Therefore, since grapefruit peels carry similar macronutrients as orange peels, I learned that using these peels would give related results as when using orange peels. 8. How do the results from your project provide a benefit to society? - The results from my project are significant to the San Luis Community for 2 reasons. For one, the community will become aware of the chemical contaminants that were found in frequented places and what they are consuming. Two, the community will find an inexpensive alternative to the improvement of water purification. "

Project presentation

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Lab journal excerpts

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Research paper

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