Sandy Creek students earn Adopt-A-Stream certification

A group of seven Sandy Creek High students completed Georgia Adopt-A-Stream Bacterial and Chemical Certification. 

A group of Patriots have been recognized for their protection of clean water. Seven Sandy Creek High students recently completed Georgia Adopt-A-Stream Bacterial and Chemical Certification.

For Emma Mineva, Jahir Sanabria, Olivia Lohr, Brooke Loyd, Kennedy Bynoe, Emerald Broughton, and Demarcus Ramirez, Adopt-A-Stream began as a project their sophomore year in Gifted Chemistry instead of a science fair.

“They liked it so much they continued their junior and now senior year, even though it isn’t a credit or club or any incentive,” said teacher Dr. Permeil Dass. ““It was exciting the first year because they had an E.coli spike and actually found a leak in our football field’s visitor bathroom that has since been repaired. To identify where the leak was, they measured further upstream until there wasn’t a lot of E.coli and figured the leak was somewhere between the two sampled areas.”

The goal of water monitoring is to identify and address sources of pollution in local streams before it enters larger water systems. The water protectors completed bacterial and chemical tests on Flat Creek River to measure levels of E.coli, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, phosphates, pH, and conductivity to monitor the water quality.

Water samples are collected in the field and analyzed in the lab room. Part of the sample is used to grow bacteria on Petrifilm to count the number of E.coli colonies, as excessive amounts of bacteria point to a sewage leak. Additional samples undergo a series of chemical reactions including a titration to assess the chemical levels in the water.

Adopt-A-Stream is one of the outreach and education programs of the Non-Point Source Program in the Watershed Protection Branch of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.