Water pollution is a global issue. Here in the U.S., the Clean Water Act was passed more than 40 years ago – in 1972 – after many years of unmonitored pollution finding its way into our nation’s waterways. According to a timeline on PBS.org, “Passed in 1972, the Clean Water Act was a response to the nearly unchecked dumping of pollution into our waterways. At the time, two-thirds of the country’s lakes, rivers and coastal waters had become unsafe for fishing or swimming.”
Today, conditions have improved, but water supplies are routinely monitored, thanks to the Clean Water Act. The PBS timeline also states, “The goal of the Clean Water Act was to reduce pollution in all U.S. waters to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of our nation’s waters.” Specifically, the law mandated “zero discharge of pollutants into navigable waters by 1985, and fishable and swimmable waters by 1983.”
While times have changed and water conditions have improved overall, the world’s drinking water supply still remains at risk today. Contaminated water threatens quality of life on a global scale. On its website, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says, “Many of our water resources also lack basic protections, making them vulnerable to pollution from factory farms, industrial plants, and activities like fracking.” That’s where the measurement of water flow patterns can play a significant role.
Dye fluorometry – or water tracing – is used for tracing pollutants in our water sources, according to this article. Fluorescent dye, such as rhodamine, can measure the time of travel (TOT) for surface and ground water. The dye mimics the movement of water molecules. It indicates how water moves – which ultimately can reveal the source of contaminants and pollutants.
For the best results in water tracing studies, metering pumps should be used for precision injection of the rhodamine dye. Low current metering pumps, such as Fluid Metering’s QBG pumps, are ideal for this application because they offer:
- Accuracy and precision – the pumps’ valveless design features only one moving part in the fluid path.
- Inert internal components – chemically inert ceramics and fluorocarbon wetted parts will not skew results.
- Low current operation – the QBG pump runs at low current and will operate on battery power for extended periods of time, making it perfect for environmental studies in remote locations.
Through water tracing efforts and the measurement of water flow, we can monitor our waterways. Our future – and the future of our grandchildren – depends on the protection and sustainability of the world’s water supply, and the protection of our environment, in general.