Wednesday, June 2, 2010

E-Hi-A


by De

This weekend was full of many surprises..  beach soccer in the city center aaaaand a HAIL STORM!! Oh my, there I was, sitting at the train station awaiting my friends arrival when ice came pouring from the sky!! Shortly after it poured... then all of a sudden the sun came out! (And I thought Florida's weather was crazy!)

This week Ana, myself and Chol went on a field trip to the wastewater treatment plant in Hoek Van Holland.  Sidenote: On the way, I learned that in dutch, IHE is pronounced E-Hi-A! Back to the real story.. we went to the WWTP to collect water to use for our SAT columns.  Due to the rain (and hail) during the previous days leading up to the trip, we were slightly skeptical as to whether or not the water we were to collect would be too diluted for our purposes.  It was very interesting to be able to kind of roam around the plant without supervision! (Pictures on the next trip for sure!)  After returning to E-Hi-A (hehe) and testing the water we brought back with us, the water did seem a little too diluted so we will be visiting the WWTP again next week.

These last couples weeks have been very productive in learning how to use the different machines to run different tests.  Now I can safely say that I can perform tests to monitor DOC, UV, Ammonium concentrations and am learning about COD and plate counts!

Plate counts.. sooooo cool!! I had to run downstairs to get my camera so that I could have pictures to share! Peter, the lab staff in charge of the microbiology aspects of the lab explained to Chol and myself the process and idea behind plate counts.  Yesterday we spread our water sample on a plate and today it looked like this...
Each little dot is a colony that represents a bacteria.  The pink ones are coliforms, the blue ones are e-coli and the green are salmonella.

This plate (different from the previous plate) consisted of 106,000 coliforms and 14,000 e-coli per 100 mL.  Only one of the plates showed a salmonella colony (the most dangerous of the bacteria).

On a not so happy note, we've had some strange complications measuring COD.  We prepared solutions to form a calibration curve... 


but when using the spectrophotometer, the absorbance value continued to increase slowly (rather than give one reading).  More to come on this later...

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