Low-Tech Water Wand Finds Contaminated Drinking Water

Low-Tech Water Wand Finds Contaminated Drinking Water

News Type: State, Regional, Federal Source: The Water Network
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Municipal ​water can be ​contaminated by ​electronic ​waste and other ​sources of ​heavy ​metals—​but collecting, ​chemically ​preserving and ​transporting ​samples to ​laboratories ​for testing is ​challenging for ​remote ​communities. ​

To streamline ​the process, ​Emily Hanhauser,​ a mechanical ​engineer at the ​Massachusetts ​Institute of ​Technology, and ​her colleagues ​created a low-​tech sample-​collection ​device that ​costs less than ​two dollars to ​make. It ​consists of a ​plastic handle ​tipped by ​propellerlike ​attachments ​made from ​polymer mesh, ​which contain ​small packets ​of absorbent ​resin beads ​that attract ​heavy metal ​ions. Users ​stir the device ​in water and ​then blot or ​air-dry it. ​Dunking the ​attachments in ​an acid ​solution ​releases the ​absorbed ions, ​which can then ​be measured.