*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.
Reclaimed (treated) wastewater can be used for many purposes, including landscape watering and freeing up valuable fresh water for other purposes (like drinking water). It's a great way to conserve water, but is it really safe? This science fair project is designed to find out.
The objective of this science fair project is to investigate if watering with recycled water affects the safety of school lawns.
Before starting this science fair project, you'll need to read about, water quality, water testing, growing grass, and how water is recycled. Once you're familiar with these topics, start your science fair project by growing three patches of lawn in three separate miniature greenhouses. You'll have to decide how to create your greenhouses; one way is to make them out of plastic boxes, chicken wire, and clear plastic trash bags. Water one lawn patch with recycled water, one with distilled water, and the third with tap water. Measure the growth rates of each grass patch and compare their general appearances. Read the guide on Measuring Plant Growth for more ideas on how to evaluate the three lawns. Collect water runoff samples, and using one or more water quality testing kits, test each for pathogens, nutrients, and other characteristics. Water-quality testing kits can be purchased from a variety of science supply stores. See the Approved Supplier Program page for a list of potential vendors.
The Ask an Expert Forum is intended to be a place where students can go to find answers to science questions that they have been unable to find using other resources. If you have specific questions about your science fair project or science fair, our team of volunteer scientists can help. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help you troubleshoot.
If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:
Water or Wastewater Engineer
When you think about a city that is a great place to live, what do you consider? Probably a community where the citizens are happy, healthy, and comfortable. Part of being all three is having a clean, safe, and constant water supply. Many of us take for granted that when we turn the faucet on we will be able to get a glass of water or that when we flush the toilet our waste will be carried away and treated somewhere. Well, that is what a water or wastewater engineer does. Their job is to design and build the tools and infrastructure that provide us with clean water as well as to monitor the safety of our water.
With a growing world population, making sure that there is enough food for everyone is critical. Plant scientists work to ensure that agricultural practices result in an abundance of nutritious food in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.
Water & Liquid Waste Treatment Plant & System Operator
Have you ever wondered what happens to that soapy water from your kitchen sink or laundry room washer, or the waste water from your bathroom? What about the water that factories discharge after making products? Or the water that runs off of roads and farmlands after a big storm? Water and liquid waste treatment plant and system operators run the amazing water treatment plants that remove pollutants and other harmful materials from waste water, so that it can be safely returned to the environment. These operators provide essential services that everyone in the community depends on every day to keep our water supply safe and clean.
Soil and Water Conservationist
Soil and water are two of Earth's most important natural resources. Earth would not be able to sustain life without nutritive soil to grow food and clean water to drink. Soil and water conservationists foster the science and art of natural resource conservation. The scientists work to discover, develop, implement, and constantly improve ways to use land that sustains its productive capacity, and enhances the environment at the same time. Soil and water conservationists are involved in improving conservation policy by bringing science and professional judgment to bear in shaping local, state, and federal policy.
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