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Students test water samples with the help of Kel Tren WaterCare

Earlier this week, members of the Better Kitchen Sink club at Pennington had the opportunity to test the effectiveness of their water filtration model, thanks in large part to Sean Barry, owner of Kel Tren WaterCare, a leading water treatment company serving New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

Using water pulled from Lowellden Pond, just beyond the campus athletic fields, students processed five different samples for testing. Beginning with a raw water sample, additional elements were layered in the process, creating different specimens with which to effectively gauge filtration effectiveness. Cotton, sand, and rocks comprised a base layer for the filtration bottles, and students utilized different grades of activated carbon as well as specialized chlorine tablets to process their samples. Each sample was carefully packaged and will be sent out for testing across 150 different metrics. The results, which should be available early next month, will help determine which process yielded the cleanest and safest water.

The testing kits and supplies were generously donated courtesy of Barry and his company. Kel Tren WaterCare has been committed to clean water solutions since 1956, providing water filtration, softening, and purification services for both homeowners and businesses. Offering assistance on this project was an easy decision for Barry since it involves something which he already cares passionately about: making safe, clean drinking water available to everyone, regardless of who they are or where they live. “The Better Kitchen Sink initiative aligns perfectly with the mission of our company and helps launch it to a global scale,” said Barry. “These students are taking the mission of supplying clean water beyond our sphere of influence.”  

The initial idea to create a filtration system for a refugee camp in Malawi with a limited water supply started in 2021. In June 2022, Pennington students took twelve filtering systems to Malawi and trained local teens on how to use them. Four of the project's original students (Miami Celetana ’22, Avery Sichel ’22, Max Gibbard ’22, and Liam Goldstein ’22) who are now in college continue to work on the project. Under the guidance of Susan Wirsig, director of the Applied Science Certificate Program, this group now includes seniors Justin Davidyock, Rishi Duggal, Ishan Gupta, William Hyndman, Kieran Karp, Dowon Zio Kim, Alexander Lee, Caleb Li, and Felix Shapiro; juniors Alex Burton, Caleb Collins, John Fermo, Matthew Sanderson, and Xiaona Zhu; and sophomores Shubh Gangrade, Ishaan Khetarpal, Olivia Lee, and Ella Sichel.

Once the most current testing data is received, students will use these findings to refine their filter design. They plan to return to Malawi in June 2023 with a revised product. Visit BKS (thebetterkitchensink.org) for more project details.