• Jared Bowen and Erin Scott, both junior biochemisty majors at Westminster College, presented the results of a service-learning project at a meeting of the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition (SRWC) Nov. 14 at Jennings Environmental Education Center.
The students are from an advanced laboratory class taught by Dr. Helen Boylan, Westminster associate professor of chemistry. They collaborated with the SRWC to test the efficacy of their passive treatment site at Erico Bridge in Venango Township. The passive treatment uses natural processes, such as limestone beds, settling ponds and wetlands to improve the water quality of abandoned mine drainage at this location.
As part of the project, the students visited the site, collected water samples and performed field tests of pH, alkalinity, and iron content. Back in the lab, students used laboratory techniques to analyze for sulfates, hot acidity, and various metals, such as manganese and aluminum.
The results confirmed that the passive treatment site is working well to reduce the acidity and metal content of the abandoned mine drainage.
Taken during the junior year, the advanced laboratory course features semi-independent laboratory projects that mirror work done by professional chemists in graduate school, industry and government laboratories.
Jared is a son of Daniel and Lauri Bowen, Greenville, and a graduate of Greenville High School.
Erie is a daughter of Douglas and Janet Scott, Greenville, and a graduate of Reynolds High School.