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CFCC students invite public to participate in water study

WILMINGTON, NC (NEWS RELEASE) — The Cape Fear Community College Chemical Technology Department invites the public to participate in an upcoming water testing project.

Funded through a $150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, the project will allow students to utilize the latest equipment on campus which can detect a wide variety of minerals and contaminants.

CFCC Chemical Technology instructor Tracy Holbrook said that the success of the project intricately involves community participation which allows students to be exposed to a “real-world” experience.

Interested participants should bring a 1 gallon water sample taken from any single source to room N-302 in the Natural Sciences building at CFCC’s downtown campus before March 9th. Sources can include tap water, purified water, streams, retention ponds, rivers or other sources. All containers must be clearly labeled.

Students will test the sample(s) for various contaminants including lead, chromium, copper, iron, conductivity, and pH. With the aid of the National Science Foundation, students will also be able to detect an array of organic compounds including common herbicides and pesticides as well as many carcinogenic compounds.

A full report will be generated and delivered within 4-6 weeks.


1. Feel free to bring in more than one sample. For example, if you use a water filter, bring in a sample before and after your sample passes through the filter. Some people have brought in water from their refrigerator dispenser as well as water from their kitchen faucet so that we can compare the two samples. Others have brought in water samples from Empie Dog Park, Greenfield Lake, a stream or lake in their backyard/communities, etc.

2. An ideal sample size will be 1 gallon. This ensures us that we will have enough water to do multiple trials of each test. Please ensure that your containers are cleaned and thoroughly rinsed.

3. Any container is fine. Most people will use plastic milk jugs.

4. Please try to obtain your sample the day you bring it to our lab. If a sample has been stored in a vehicle for a couple of days, the sample becomes unreliable. We can still provide testing on the sample, but it might not represent true values of any contaminants.

5. Bring your sample to N-302, the Chemical Technology Laboratory at the Downtown Campus.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Tracy Holbrook at tholbrook@cfcc.edu or Kim Bufkin at kbufkin@cfcc.edu. The deadline to submit water samples will be Friday, March 9, 2012.

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