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Celebrating World Water Day with scientific research

Michigan Technological University is celebrating World Water Day, March 22, with events all...
Michigan Technological University is celebrating World Water Day, March 22, with events all this week. On March 21, environmental engineering students presented their research relating to water. (WLUC)
Published: Mar. 21, 2017 at 8:53 PM EDT
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Michigan Technological University is celebrating World Water Day, March 22, with events all this week. On March 21, environmental engineering students presented their research relating to water.

"It points out how in many different disciplines, this is the edge of science," professor of environmental engineering Noel Urban said. "There's new things being discovered. It also points out that it's an important area for funding. Faculty are able to get funding in that area because it's so socially relevant."

Posters lined the lobby of the Dow building, where one student was talking about her research on nitrogen levels in Upper Peninsula streams. Michelle Kelly, a fourth-year environmental engineering student, said research like hers can help efforts to improve water quality in the future.

"A lot of times people take one measurement at one point in the stream and kind of assume that this is the same throughout the stream," she said. "My research has kind of shown that rates can be pretty variable within the stream itself, so a lot of people have been pretty surprised."

Interested students from other departments came to see their peers' research. A second-year masters biological sciences student at the event, Ryan Van Goethem, said he thought it was important people learn about water issues.

"The more we understand about water culturally, but also ecologically, that's going to allow us to have a sustainable future," Van Goethem said.

World Water Day events continue March 22 with a panel discussion and the Dirty Water Challenge, where students attempt to clean water with just sand, gravel, alum and activated charcoal.