HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) – “These two samples are this is a sample of water that I took from one of me friend’s wells. This is a sample of pond water near the well. So this sample we took from, he doesn’t use this well too often. But it’s a drilled well that he uses,” explained a Henderson County High School student.
Eyewitness News had the privilege of being there while the students begin their experiments.
“What’s really cool about XRF or XRF technology is that you can get measurements in real time. So the students can actually see the measurements from the samples that they collected themselves. And they can see if there are any read out.”
“Essentially what had happened there was a news report that came out, that reported that there were levels of PFAS in the community – and the students became more into it so did the teachers. So they reached out to us and we decided to form a partnership. We could measure water samples in the community using technology called XRF,” explains the owners.
Called ‘forever chemicals’, they cause harmful effects such as high blood pressure, reduced liver function, and a compromised immune response, according to the Center for Disease Control.
“So what’s great is this is a group with really enthusiastic motivated students, and they’re feeling like they’re doing something that’s apart of the community but also doing real-life measurements in real time. So it’s getting them kind of a lead into environmental science,” remarked Professor Jackie Young.
“It’s critical especially moving forward and growing our students into conscientiousness citizens. As well as people that are going to be coming-into industries such as water treatment and education.” agrees Josh Thompson, Treatment Superintendent of Henderson Municipal Water Committee.
“We’re hoping that some students will go on and be the next Environmentalists in training,” says Professor Young.
And for some students, this experiment has led to a new appreciation for the science behind it.
The XRF technology works like an x-ray, and is able to determine the composition of materials and not just rocks – the device was able to tell me the composition of my microphone in just minutes.
“Because in Henderson, there’s not…you don’t hear about stuff like this. So I think that’s gonna be most interesting for me,” adds Decker.
Louisville says the samples will be sent to a lab, and incorporated into the University’s research on the subject.