PROTECT Trainees Offer Water Quality Workshop to Children in Puerto Rico

9th grade student conducting chlorine method analysis

9th grade student conducting chlorine method analysis

On March 15th, 2016, the EPA-GRO TEAM and PROTECT Trainees offered a workshop to middle school children about the importance of water quality and commonly measured parameters. The workshop reached about 50 students from the school Dr. Francisco Vázquez Colón del Bo. Magueyes, located in the municipality of Barceloneta, Puerto Rico. The purpose of the activity was: (1) disseminate the importance of good water quality and the research carried out by the EPA-GROW Team, (2) offer a workshop with a hands-on experience for participants, (3) demonstrate the work of environmental engineers and expose participants to the STEM field, and lastly (4) support the development of research translation, community engagement and presentation skills of the members of the EPA-GROW Team and PROTECT Trainees.

The members of the EPA-GROW Team, Arshley Rey and Angeliz Vangas, began the activity with a brief presentation on what a water quality study entails. They reviewed the importance and local impact of good water quality and how these issues were related to the work of environmental engineers, using the research done by the EPA-GROW Team as an example. The second half of the workshop consisted of a hands-on experience, where participants could conduct tests using the methods for analysis with actual laboratory equipment from the Environmental Engineering Laboratory at University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez Campus (UPRM). For this part the group, led by Nerida De Jesus and fellow PROTECT Trainees Vilda Rivera and Marvic Carmona, managed the operation of instruments such as the Data Sonde, DO (Dissolved Oxygen) meter and high range chlorine tests, while Arshley and Angeliz managed turbidity and low range Chlorine tests.

Trainees

From left to right: Arshley Rey, Vilda Rivera, Nerida H. De Jesus, Angeliz Vangas and Marvic Carmona

The activity served as an introduction for “Día de Monitoreo de Calidad de Agua de Puerto Rico (Water Quality Monitoring Day of Puerto Rico) as part of the World Water Monitoring Challenge, organized by the “Estuario de la Bahia de San Juan (EBSJ). The event took place Saturday, April 9th, at the UPRM Campus, where stations for demonstrations of various parameters were set up next to Gold Creek, which runs through campus, with special kits for students to use for independent tests. It is the goal of the EPA-GRO Team to host another workshop for the community where they conduct research, as a closing event for the two years of continuous work and monitoring of their system’s water quality.