ASU Insight: Behind the faucet — what impacts your drinking water quality?

April 19, 2017

Pierre Herckes, professor in the School of Molecular Sciences, recently presented a public lecture on water quality issues as part of the Dean of Science Public Lecture Series at ASU. The event also featured a panel of local experts on water quality: Paul Westerhoff, from the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at ASU; Rhett Larson from the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at ASU; Mike Ploughe who is a senior scientist at the Salt River Project; and Kathryn Sorenson, Director of Water Services for the City of Phoenix. ASU, Arizona State University, Water, School of Molecular Sciences Discussion panel on water quality in our communities. Download Full Image

Pierre described many of the delicate factors that contribute to water quality, using the recent problems of Flint, Michigan as an example. When Flint switched their source of water from the City of Detroit water supply to the Flint River, small changes in the water chemistry, which on their own were not unsafe, caused dramatically increased leaching of lead, a known neurotoxin, from the Flint water system pipes, that made its way into the drinking water supply.

Pierre also discussed the local water supply, which has quite diverse sources, including the Colorado, Verde and Salt rivers, and also local wells. Mike Ploughe described the Salt and Verde River watersheds, which are the ultimate source of water in the Valley, and the importance of maintaining their health, and Kathryn Sorensen discussed how different areas in the Valley obtain water differently from the various water sources. Pierre then talked about the kinds of contaminants that can negatively influence water quality, and Rhett Larson described how water quality is regulated by law. The final subject addressed was how water is purified, including a discussion of chlorine and fluorine in water and Paul Westerhoff described water purification methods that are used locally.

The ASU School of Molecular Sciences is an academic unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Ken Fagan

Videographer, ASU News


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An ASU space celebration

April 19, 2017

Scientists, fans gather in Tempe to explore the Lucy, Psyche missions and the university's role in each

Sometimes it's OK to get a little starry-eyed.

That was the case Monday night in Tempe at the Discovery Mission Celebration of the Psyche and Lucy missions, where scientists, support staff and guests explored Arizona State University's roles in Psyche — the first ASU-led deep-space mission — and Lucy, which will carry an instrument designed and built on campus. The mood was festive and focused on possibilities.

ASU President Michael Crow addressed the crowd of about 200 people before a panel discussion, saying that by our nature, “we are all explorers.”

“We want to know,” he said. “We want to know everything.”

The Psyche Mission will explore a metallic asteroid that may be the core of an early planet, giving us a glimpse into what may lie at the core of Earth.

“We’ve never visited a metal world, and we’ve never seen Psyche as anything other than a speck of light,” said School of Earth and Space Exploration Director Lindy Elkins-Tanton, the mission's principal investigator.

The Lucy Mission, which will investigate Jupiter's Trojan asteroids, will carry a thermal emission spectrometer designed and built at ASU. Regents' Professor Phil Christensen is the instrument's designer and principal investigator; he discussed Monday evening how the ability to build space instruments on campus allows us to pique the interest of students and the community.

See more of the sights and sound bytes in the slideshow below.

Top photo: Panel moderator Ferran Garcia-Pichel (left) asks a question of panelists Dave Williams, Jim Bell, Lindy Elkins-Tanton, Phil Christensen, Henry Stone and Pete Lord at the Discovery Mission Celebration of Psyche and Lucy missions Monday in Tempe. Williams is the Psyche Mission co-investigator; Bell is the Lucy Mission co-investigator; Elkins-Tanton is the Psyche Mission principal investigator; Christensen is the Lucy Mission's thermal emissions spectrometer principal investigator; Stone is with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and is the Psyche Mission Project Manager; and Lord is with Space Systems Loral and is the deputy program manager. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now