Clean water has always been a leading issue in Arizona. The convenience of the modern world has enabled the common population to rest easy as clean drinking water is commonly available in markets in every populated area. Bottled water is the savior of the west, as some people say. However, the natural and man made catastrophe’s in the last decade have proven that an entire population’s lives can be changed in an instant. Today, we are enjoying the comfort of easily accessible water, but what if the situation in the United States is not so cushy in the next decade or so? Where will the people of Arizona get their water from then? The obvious answer is that Tap and well water are safe enough to drink and can be relied on when Bottled mineral water becomes scarce or an expensive commodity. But many health conscious individuals claim that the fortification and protection provided by bottled water cannot be obtained through other sources. They claim that in the long term trace elements that can be hazardous to health accumulate in the person that relies on tap or well water. This project will aim to determine if the levels of trace elements in tap and well water are significantly larger than in bottled water to have an impact on the health of an individual.
The important trace elements that have to be controlled are antimony, arsenic, boron, cadmium, chloride, copper, fluoride, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, selenium and sodium. For convenience of testing, this project will consider measuring the levels of sodium, copper, iron, lead, manganese, mercury and nickel. To accomplish the goals of the project, the water profiles of trace elements of two major mineral water brands will be used as a benchmark to be compared across tap water and well water. The samples of tap water, bottled water and well water will undergo analysis and be compared with the minimum safe levels of trace elements in water as described by a WHO certified internet source. The quantitative analytical techniques used will be Complexometric titration, Ion-Exchange chromatography and Ion-Selective electrode Potentiometry.
For the acquisition of samples for this project, the group will travel first to a supermarket and obtain two bottles of one liter volume of bottled mineral water. The group will then visit homes of acquaintances or parks from the 4 limits of the city and obtain a liter of water from each location. One liter of water is to be obtained from a single location from each limit, for a total of four liters of tap water. The group will also obtain a liter of water from two wells in or surrounding the city. The reason for the wide distribution of the source of samples is to make sure that the generalization made in the conclusion will be valid.
The United States has a highly controlled water purification system in place. Because of this it is unlikely that purification treatment plants let harmful levels of trace elements to reach consumers. However, Arizona is still home to many water pipelines made decades ago. Even with regular maintenance, a certain level of pipe decay is to be expected. This could elevate the levels of trace elements in water which could be reflected in the results of the analysis. For tap water, it is expected that the ionic concentration of iron, copper, aluminum and nickel will be higher than that of bottled water. These values may even differ with location of the water collected. It is still expected that the concentration of trace elements will be within safe levels in tap water. As for well water, it may contain any or all of the trace elements tested for. The levels for iron, sodium, manganese and copper could be close to safe levels or could exceed them. However, it is expected that the levels of lead and mercury will be minimum still.