MWRA 2009-2010 Writing Contest Winners

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Forrest J. Eimold
Grade 4, A.T. Cummings School, Winthrop


Water Quality Specialists: A Day on the Job

Do I have everything I need? Buckets? Check. Vial? Check. Pellets? Uuummm ... check. Sunglasses? Check. Ok, I'm ready to go.

My name is Alex. I am a water quality specialist. I test water at beaches to make sure that it is safe to swim in. I have had this job for about 15 years now. Hope this day is better than the one yesterday. That one was terrible. I found out that two out of the three beaches that I checked were too unsanitary for people to be in.

I opened the front door to my house. The temperature felt like it was in the low 70s. It was partly cloudy, so I took off my sunglasses and put them in my pocket. I locked the front door, and unlocked the car. Beep! I walked to my car and opened the silver car door. I stepped inside and turned on the engine. I drove out of the driveway. Since I was a water quality specialist, I drove the Toyota Hybrid, because my job taught me to go green. I drove off to my first stop, Donovan's Beach. When I parked in a parking space in front of the beach, I noticed my friend Stephen.

"Hi, Alex, how are you?" Stephen asked.

"I'm doing good." I replied. You see, Stephen also works at the MWRA as a Water Quality Specialist. He's my co-worker.

"Nobody here," Stephen said.

"Not surprisingly." I said. "Nobody ever comes here. We should get to work."

Stephen and I walked towards the edge of the beach to unpack our things.

"Uuuggghhh!" I said, frustrated with myself. "This is the third time in a row that I forgot my test tubes!"

"Don't worry, you and I can share mine." Stephen said.

"O.K." I said, "thanks."

Once we were done unloading our materials for testing the water, we picked up our buckets and took off our shoes. I hoped I wouldn't step on any ocean animals. I'm fond of them.

"Let's hope that Donovan's Beach won't have to be closed," Stephen said while we put on our gloves. "I love Donovan's Beach."

At that moment, we saw a horseshoe crab in the water. It was swimming towards us. But there was something else with it ... no ... was it. .. a baby horseshoe crab? But apparently, Stephen was asking himself the same question, and he had already answered it.

"Look at that, a horseshoe crab with its baby! Isn't that so cute?!" Stephen said excitedly. It was. But we didn't have time to admire them, because they turned around, and swam away.

''We should get started now," I said.

"Yes. Let's start," Stephen confirmed. We walked towards the water, holding our buckets. We kept walking until we were in knee deep water. Then we took the buckets and put water in them. Once the buckets were almost full, we headed back to shore to do the temperature test. We got the thermometer from Stephen's pile of testing utensils, and submerged it into the bucket for two minutes. After two minutes, we took out the thermometer. It read 79° F.

"That isn't good. Algae can grow at any temperature that's over 75° F." Stephen said anxiously, as he recorded the result on the Data Recording Form.

"Let's see if the pH test will have better results." I said, as I filled a test tube with water. I cautiously added 10 drops of Stephen's wide range indicator to the test tube. I put the cap back on the tube and shook it gently. The octet comparator said that the water's color was 6.0.

"The pH results are a lot better." I told Stephen. "It's 6.0." I told Stephen, so he could record the results. We did the other tests, only to find that the results kept getting worse.

"I guess we'll have to close Donovan's Beach for the day." Stephen said, looking downcast.

"Let's hope the results are better tomorrow." I said, as I put a sign on the fence separating the sidewalk from the beach, which said "CLOSED DUE TO UNSANITARY WATER".

We packed up our equipment, went to our cars, and drove off to our next stop, Winthrop Beach. Winthrop Beach was one of the beaches that I had closed yesterday. We found out that we could open it back up again, but it had only just passed the tests. When we went to Yirrell Beach, another one of the beaches that I closed yesterday, it, too, had only just passed the water quality tests.

So, two beaches open, one beach closed. That was better than yesterday. After I headed to Deer Island, to report the results, I went back home. That was a good day, I thought to myself as I get into bed. Next stop tomorrow: Donovan's Beach.

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