NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Here’s a fun project you can do at home – you only need a penny, a magnet and an internet connection! Find out what materials were used to make your tap water pipes and then upload that information to a database. You’ll help build a nationwide inventory of water pipe materials…so why does that matter?
Most of us get our drinking water from a public water source that first treats the water to make it safe. Then, the water is delivered to our homes via a network of pipes that may be made of different materials. In the past, most pipes were made of lead but since then, we’ve learned that the lead can leach into the water and that’s harmful to our health. Many communities updated their pipes to safer materials like copper or steel – but not all of the old lead pipes have been replaced yet.
This nationwide inventory will help prioritize where pipes need to be replaced. Being part of Crowd the Tap will connect you with others who want to make sure our drinking water remains safe.
To learn more about your drinking water, check out the NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection Drinking Water Watch map. You can also contact your local water utility for their latest water quality report.
Want to try a fun chemistry activity? Try this one from our friends at The Exploratorium, Copper Caper.
Remember, April is Citizen Science Month – but there are too many great projects to fit into just one month. I’ll be back next week with another fun project you can do at home!
–Christine Bean, Rutgers 4-H STEM Blog