By Chris Dodge

About 30 Fayston Elementary students from all grade levels conducted tests on water from the Chase Brook near the school on September 18 as part of World Water Monitoring Day. The Fayston School was the only Vermont site registered to participate in the annual worldwide study. The closest other sites were located in New York and New Jersey.

Using a testing kit provided through a grant from the Water Environment Federation and International Water Association, students visited the Chase Brook near the school parking lot to test the water's turbidity (clarity), pH (acidity), dissolved oxygen and temperature levels. Students also recorded signs of aquatic life, characteristics of surrounding land and features of the brook.

For each test, students learned the impact of that feature on wildlife and the environment. Higher levels of dissolved oxygen, for example, support more diverse species and a healthier ecosystem. Low levels can weaken or kill fish and other aquatic life. The brook's pH, 8, fell between the favorable range of 6.5 and 8.5. There were high levels of dissolved oxygen and the water had perfect clarity. A temperature of 13 degrees Celsius was recorded. The students learned that cooler water holds more oxygen.

As a registered site for the study, the students entered the data into an online computer database being used to collect sample information from around the globe. Students were able to compare their results to those in various regions. For the Fayston and global results, visit www.worldwatermonitoringday.org .

World Water Monitoring Day is a program of the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the International Water Association (IWA). The goal is to increase public awareness and involvement in the protection of water quality around the world.