Testing Water Quality and Its Correlation with Disease Diagnoses in Weakley County, TN

$1,906
Raised of $1,421 Goal
134%
Funded on 7/29/18
Successfully Funded
  • $1,906
    pledged
  • 134%
    funded
  • Funded
    on 7/29/18

Project Results

Overall the results indicate that there is close to a 0.00 ppm concentration to a trace amount of Cd, Pb, As, and Cr in the 115 water sample sites.  The concentrations for Nickel show a few sites, both city and well, that exceed the Maximum Contaminant Level as set by the EPA.  These sites with high Nickel concentrations could be due to the error of + or - 0.05 ppm for the concentrations recorded.

About This Project

In Weakley County folklore, cancer and disease rates within certain communities are said to be high due to poor water quality. This project will test the quality of well, city, and community water sources within Weakley County and see if the water quality has a significant correlation with rates of diseases. In the process of the research the research team will design a probe to help residents test their water quality.

Ask the Scientists

Join The Discussion

What is the context of this research?

During a research meeting, a subdivision in Weakley County was discussed. It is believed that the community has high rates of disease diagnoses due to poor water quality. This convinced the research team to test the water in the living community for high levels of contaminants that may lead to disease diagnoses. Currently the State of Tennessee ranks as a Class 3 state with 495.8 out of 100,000 people obtaining cancer diagnoses. There is no data currently on the rate of cancer for Individual counties in Tennessee, which this research hopes to rectify. Ions of lead, cadmium, and mercury, which will be tested during this research, have all been linked to various diseases and disorders of the nervous, digestive, and cardiovascular systems.

What is the significance of this project?

If this research can determine there is a significant correlation between disease rates and water quality from certain communities in Weakley County then residents will know that their water source could be linked to higher disease diagnoses. Also, if a certain ion, Pb. Cd, Hg, As, is present in high enough concentrations in the water sources then residents will know that their water source is contaminated. In addition, when the research team finishes building the potentiostate probes residents who were not involved in this study can have their wells tested for ion concentrations and take the necessary steps for decontaminating their water source. Potentiostate Probe LINK and User's Manual

What are the goals of the project?

A survey will be used to gain permission to test the water of residences and to determine if residents who use certain water sources have a higher rate for diseases diagnose such as cancer. From those that respond to the survey, three samples of the household's water will be taken. One well, one city, and one of each tested Weakley County Community water source will be tested each week for 2 months to determine if there is a change over time in water quality during seasonal changes. Averages of all water sources in the county will be calculated individually, and statistical tests will be used to determine if significant differences in ion concentrations are present. Potentiostat probes will be built for residents across the county to use in testing their water quality.

Budget

Please wait...

The As and Hg lamps will be used in an Atomic Absorption Spectrometer to test water samples. The Spectrometer located at UTM has been previously used in undergraduate and high school level research. The Glass Bottles will be used for obtaining samples of water and storing the water. The parafilm will be used to seal the rubber stoppers of the glass bottles during transportation. The water in the glass collection bottles will be transferred to volumetric flasks for ion concentration tests. The WheeStat kits will be used to build potentiostate probes that determine ion concentration based on the electrical conduction of known solutions compared to an unknown solution. The one molar solutions will be used to make standard diluted solutions of tested ions and then used for a comparison to the unknown samples taken from residences.

Endorsed by

Mr. McCall has guided his students in developing a solid, applicable research project addressing an important question supported by existing scientific literature. The project provides students with hands-on opportunities to apply the scientific method as well as learn experimental design and research methods. This project benefits the students and the county.
The aim to train students in analysis of drinking water chemistry is excellent: water quality is something that everybody cares about, and almost nobody knows about. Students are likely to gain in practical wisdom as well as scientific know how. Robert McCall is clearly a very dedicated science teacher, gifted with the energy needed to successfully lead an ambitious project such as this.
This project is perfect for high school students. It will allow them to be a full fledged researcher without needing the extensive background of an undergraduate or graduate degree. Mr. McCall's experience and enthusiasm with research will ensure this is a successful project.

Flag iconProject Timeline

The research team will allow the submission of the survey throughout the entire research process, which may extend from July to December. The research team will keep taking water samples and testing the three samples from each residence from July to December. Each week from July to December one city water sample, one well water sample, and one water sample from each tested community will be taken weekly to determine if seasonal changes affect ion concentrations.

Jun 08, 2018

Send out Water Quality Research Notification letters to 73 Weakley County residents

Jun 08, 2018

Initiate the sending of survey instructions and begin taking survey submissions

Jun 08, 2018

Initiate Water Quality Sampling using a well, city, and living community water sources

Jun 29, 2018

Project Launched

Jul 16, 2018

Initiate Testing and Building of Ion selective Electrodes

Meet the Team

Robert L. McCall 2nd
Robert L. McCall 2nd
High School Science Teacher

Affiliates

Greenfield High School and Weakley County Schools
View Profile
Logan Rash
Logan Rash
Senior at Greenfield HS

Affiliates

Greenfield High school
View Profile
Andrew Campbell
Andrew Campbell
Senior at Greenfield HS; Member of Summer Research Team

Affiliates

Greenfield HS
View Profile
Jacob Romans
Jacob Romans
Senior at Greenfield HS

Affiliates

Greenfield High School
View Profile
Joshua Floyd
Joshua Floyd
Senior at GHS

Affiliates

Greenfield High School
View Profile
Logan Sawyers
Logan Sawyers
Senior at GHS

Affiliates

Greenfield Highschool
View Profile

Team Bio

The research team consists of a high school Science teacher, Robert L. McCall 2nd, a Chemistry professor from UTM, Dr. Jennifer Esbenshade, and six high school students, Josh Floyd, Logan Rash, Max Witt, Logan Sawyers, Jacob Romans, and Andrew Campbell. Each member of the team is a resident of Weakley County and uses city or well water sources in their homes. Each member has a large stake in ensuring that water in their county is of high quality and not contaminated in any way.

Robert L. McCall 2nd

I have been a high school Science teacher for the past six years. I have taught Chemistry, Physical Science, Biology II, and ACT Prep at the high school level. I have implemented a curriculum in my Science classes centered around a hands-on and laboratory skills based approach. I built the Science curriculum not only on state standards given to me by Tennessee, but I also aligned each state standard with specific laboratory skills. I keep close ties to local Universities and discuss with professors the laboratory skills that are needed for their freshmen level Chemistry and Biology classes. Based on the laboratory skills discussed and observed in freshmen level classes I created a list of laboratory skills to center state standards and Science content on. In addition to the laboratory skills being the centerpiece of instruction I also implemented research projects for students to demonstrate their knowledge of laboratory skills and their knowledge of the scientific method. To help students gain even more in-depth practice with laboratory skills and to better prepare them for careers in STEM I started a summer research program with the University of TN at Martin's Chemistry Department in 2017. The research from that first year of the summer program was submitted to the TN Junior Academy of Science Competition, and my students were invited to present their research in March of 2018 at Belmont University. The data, research paper, and presentation that was generated during last years research is available at the following link. I hope to continue this summer research program with funds donated for this new experiment that my students and I are trying to implement this summer. I have made it a goal in my teaching to create a Science program at Greenfield High School that can properly prepare students for careers in STEM and better acquaint students with the fact that having a scientific mind can benefit their community and ultimately society.

Logan Rash

My name is Logan Rash; I am a senior at Greenfield High school in Greenfield, Tennessee. I have lived in Weakley County and in the city of Greenfield my whole life. I am a part of the High School Beta Club at Greenfield High School. I plan on going to college in the pursuit of a degree in engineering. I do not know which college I will attend just yet. The reason I am interested engineering is I like to see how things work and I enjoy fixing things. I have decided to be a part of the summer science research because I feel like it will better prepare me for college.

Andrew Campbell

My name is Andrew Campbell, and I am a Senior at Greenfield High and member of the Summer Research team for this summer. At Greenfield HS, I am involved in the Beta Club, Student Council, FBLA, Spanish Club, and "Mathlete" group; I have won the TMTA math competition at UT Martin in various subjects every year for the last 3 years. Outside of School, I am heavily involved in my church and youth group. Two of the most amazing trips I have ever been on were the two mission trips I went on with my church to Cincinnati, Ohio and Sevier County, Tennessee to serve those who needed our help.I try to work hard at school to get the most of my education; I currently hold a 4.0 Quality GPA and a 99.73 Cumulative GPA. Science classes at Greenfield are challenging sometimes, but I enjoy them. Science is one of the most basic studies at school because it examines and describes everything that is material and physical in our world. I think what I enjoy most about studying science is just being able to see what you've learned and apply/observe it in every minute of your life. There is a realness and relevance to science that I admire, and I think this sparks my interest toward Mr. McCall's classes at Greenfield more than anything. I got into the Summer Research team for many reasons, but most of them can be boiled down to just two. Firstly, I enjoy Mr. McCall's classes, and I wanted to learn and experience more about how the Scientific Method is really applied; I thought this was a tremendous opportunity for that. Secondly, college courses in the sciences are much more difficult than those in high school, and I felt that by completing this research and learning some more from Mr. McCall, I would make myself the most prepared I could be for Science at the next level of education. I look forward to working with all these researchers this summer and finding out more about the contents in different waters and their effects.

Jacob Romans

I am a 17 year old senior at Greenfield High School in Greenfield, Tennessee. I have lived in Greenfield my entire life, and love my city and the community of people I have known over the years. I have always had a passion for animals and science, which is why I would like to become a veterinarian. I plan to study at the University of Tennessee at Martin. I am very glad to have such a dedicated science teacher as Mr. Robert McCall, whom is very good at working without his students in and out of the classroom. His summer research program allows any of his students that plan on having a career in science to have a better understanding of what it is like to be a scientist, and to potentially help the people of our community with our findings.

Joshua Floyd

I am a senior at Greenfield High School in Greenfield, TN. I really enjoy school, especially Science and Math classes. I currently have a 4.0 GPA. Throughout high school I have involved myself in many clubs and sports that will prepare me for life after graduation. I have been a member of the basketball team for all 4 years and a member of the baseball team for 3. I have been the Class President for my class since freshman year as well as the Beta Club Vice President. I am also a member of FBLA, FCA, and Student Council. Upon graduation, I hope to attend the Air Force Academy and pursue a degree in Computer Science. I have always enjoyed science, and I enjoy challenging myself with new and unfamiliar things. I decided to join this research team because I feel like it will be a good challenge and learning experience for myself and my teammates. Our science teacher, Mr. Robert McCall, has been a great role model and influence on myself to work harder and reach my full potential. His classes are filled with many educational hands-on activities that help EVERY student learn more and understand the topics he teaches instead of just memorizing answers for tests. His guidance in our research will greatly help us throughout our endeavor to find out how different water sources can affect health.

Logan Sawyers

I am a senior at Greenfield High school in Greenfield, Tennessee and I have lived here my entire life. I enjoy the different science classes our school has to offer with my favorites being chemistry and biology. This summer research will allow me to better understand what I will experience in a college setting. I have lived with Greenfield's city water supply and I am currently using well water. I believe this research is very important as its outcome may make a difference in the lives of our citizens.

Additional Information

If residents want to have their water resource tested they can inquire at the Weakley County Court House to have a county worker come out to their residence and perform water quality tests on their water. The probe that will be built during this research will be donated to Weakley County to allow the county workers to test the water sources of those residents who live outside of the city limits.

The research team will be posting the results on a website for residents to see and interpret their ion concentration data. The Residents need only to know their site number and use the key present to interpret their data. The site numbers will be given out to residents after their water source has been tested. The site numbers will remain private and only known to the researchers and the residences that are tested. From this data provided to residents , they can determine if they need to test their water resource more thoroughly or use the methods to decontaminate their water source. WEBPAGE LINK


Project Backers

  • 34Backers
  • 134%Funded
  • $1,906Total Donations
  • $56.06Average Donation
Please wait...