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Testing Water Purity in Dead Run Creek

Churchill Road fifth graders in Bob Timke's science class collect water samples in Dead Run Creek. From left are Katherine Dunne, Diana Liddell, Jake Yates, Maggie Snyder and fifth grade teacher Bob Timke.

Churchill Road fifth graders in Bob Timke's science class collect water samples in Dead Run Creek. From left are Katherine Dunne, Diana Liddell, Jake Yates, Maggie Snyder and fifth grade teacher Bob Timke. Photo Contributed

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Churchill Road fifth graders Rachel Lesan, Becca Schuette, Will Rupli, Michelle Lederman, Owen Lippman and Katherine Dunne add drops to their water samples to test for nitrate and phosphate levels.

As part of their study of eco-systems in science, Churchill Road fifth grade classes tested the purity of the water in Dead Run Creek, which runs behind the school. Under the direction of school Eco-Education Coordinator Debra Maes, small groups of students tested the water for turbidity (clarity), chloroform bacteria, pH, dissolved oxygen, nitrates and phosphates. After ranking the results and comparing them to the previous two years’ test results, students determined that the creek is in excellent condition. By implementing good environmental practices and not using chemicals and fertilizers on the school grounds, runoff into the creek is cleaner, resulting in improved nitrate and phosphate levels. Since Dead Run Creek leads to the Potomac River and on into the Chesapeake Bay, the students learned that the improved water conditions are ultimately contributing to the health of the Chesapeake Bay.