The Effects of Water Fountain Filter Status on Microbial Diversity
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals have become exceedingly health-conscious. When in public, water fountains such as the Elkay ezH2O have allowed accessibility to filtered water that supposedly minimizes harmful pathogens as well as chemicals. The objective of this experiment was to determine whether the color of the filter status on Elkay ezH2O water fountains makes a difference in microbial diversity in drinking water on campus. After collecting water samples from one green filter status (healthy) and four red filter status (needs replacement) fountains across Carroll College campus, the microbial DNA of each sample was extracted and amplified. Additionally, wastewater was used as a control to compare to the water fountain samples. The microbiome of each fountain and the control was analyzed using Nanopore sequencing, which provided an in depth analysis of the community composition present in the water samples. Based on the results of the microbiome, a comparison between the red and green status water fountains was performed to determine the necessity and effectiveness of new filters on the water fountains around Carroll College.