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MWRA Writing Contest Winners 2005-2006
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

Honorable Mention Winner, Grades 6-8

Kimberly Ellis, Grade 7
Atlantic Middle School, Quincy

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The Case of the Half-Empty Cup

Hi, I'm detective Ella Brown. I have just solved yet another case, but this time I actually learned something. Here is my story.

"Detective Brown we have to go check out the murder of a young girl in Quincy C.S.I. Walsh told me. I love crime scenes and as I stepped on this one I felt an adrenaline rush. I knew I would solve this one. After the house was inspected there were no murder weapons or finger prints found. Mysteriously the water was left running and a half empty cup of water was found on the counter. The team coroner found an unknown substance in the victim's stomach. I knew right where to turn. I ran to my office and called the MWRA.

A voice answered " Hello, MWRA. This is Susie speaking. How may I help you?

"I need to talk to the person in charge of water purification. A young girl was murdered and we believe she may have consumed contaminated water," I answered.

"That would be me, and I can insure you that is 100 % inconceivable. Our sources of water are the Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs. We purify it down to a tee. At the Carroll Water Treatment Plant they disinfect the water using ozone bubbles. Chloramines are then added to protect water on its long way through the pipe lines," Susie said as if it were all rehearsed.

"That's nice, but, are you sure that nothing could have gotten in the water?" I questioned.

"They also add fluoride for healthy teeth and sodium bicarbonate to adjust pH.," she answered.

"You are very smart, " I said.

"Thank you. Then, after all that purification, the water goes through the Metro West Water Supply Tunnel to the Boston area where it is transferred through other pipes to the houses. The pipes are extra protected so no one could have possibly toiled with it, " she answered

"Are you sure? I really want to solve this case tonight, " I whined.

"I am very sorry, but your case is going to have to stay opened because the MWRA tests over 1,500 water samples per month. Once again, the chances of anyone person dying because of the water is a million to one," she reassured me.

Just then C.S.I Walsh slipped in and told me we found the killer. I apologized to Susie and thanked her for the water lesson. It turned out that our victim's heart had given out because she overdosed on phentermine. It was just a coincidence that she was drinking water and left the tap on when she fainted.

I am glad that I learned about the water treatments, so I will feel safe whenever I drink water again.

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