A grant to Rose State College by Aerospace and defense giant Northrop Grumman provided for the digging of a water well on the campus to be used for educational purposes.
Rose State environmental science professor Dan Ratcliff said the well will help environmental science students understand important scientific issues surrounding water resources, particularly underscored by the recent drought.
Ratcliff said the well sinks about 35 feet down, into an area of the water table called the “unconfined aquifer”.
Ratcliff said ground water remains protected from the drought because being beneath the ground prevents evaporation. While lakes, ponds, streams and rivers are gone dry due to this year’s drought, ground water remains available by digging a well. However, the threats there are different, he said.
“Ground water doesn’t flush like surface water does. It’s protected from evaporation. It’s usually not endangered from a drought, but if you have a drought in multiple years, then it can lower the groundwater. Mostly, though, lowering is caused by people overdrawing from it,” Ratcliff said.
Northrop Grumman spokesperson Norm Mejstrik said the project showed “a lot of foresight” among research projects on campus. He said Ratcliff’s project, and other projects funded by the $15,000 grant, help develop Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education for a future workforce.
Other important pieces of technology funded by the grant include a Thermal Cycler, which helps with DNA research; Computational Chemistry Workstations, used in the fields of pharmaceutical and health science research; bridge and load amplifier sets to help engineering students stress-test load-bearing structures; and important recertification and maintenance on a 3-D printer used in engineering model building.
Wed, December 21, 2011
by Ben Fenwick